This post shares a perspective on kindness – and how being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others…
Most people who learn about Reiki also learn that Mikao Usui had a philosophy on living that he expressed as ideals we could all aspire to, regardless of our personal belief systems. In this article, I want to focus on the last of them – Just for today, Be kind to every living thing.
As the words are translated from Japanese to English, they sometimes vary a little, but essentially, they mean that every day is the right day to show compassion to all life.
Think about it – how many times in a day do we express impatience with the driver who cut us off? How many times do we express frustration that the kids forgot something for school, or a colleague didn’t complete some work by a deadline? And perhaps even more telling, how many times do we inwardly berate ourselves for being “stupid”, or “too fat” or not successful, or moody…?
What I love so much about this particular ideal (or precept, as it is sometimes called), is that it includes ourselves! It specifically talks about behaving kindly towards all living things, which includes us.
Consider this – a friend makes a genuine mistake and forgets a significant anniversary. You might feel a little forgotten, but you wouldn’t be nasty to your friend. You know how busy it’s been. Maybe you’d even laugh it off and make a time to celebrate on a different day.
Now turn the table, and you have become the person who missed the anniversary. When you realise, what do you say to yourself? If you’re like most of us, rather than accepting that you’re human and the occasional error is entirely forgivable and to be expected, you might say to yourself “how could I have been so thoughtless? Stupid idiot!”
That doesn’t change the fact that something was missed – okay, you can do something about that. Make a phone call and apologise, send a card, arrange an unexpected small gift on a different day… and try to remember to be kind to yourself about the lapse. Choose words that accept you made a mistake, that you’re human, that your friend will understand when you explain.
Being kind to yourself also means to think about how you treat yourself. Losing weight, trying to break a habit (or even an addiction), getting fit – many things we want to change take time and effort. Sometimes we take a backward step – that’s normal. So, accept that mistake too, then start moving forward again. Telling yourself “I’m useless – I just can’t make this happen”, doesn’t help you. Telling yourself “oh well – I didn’t quite manage a good day today, but I’ve done really well on other days and I can still make progress” is being kind. And you’re far more likely to follow through than if you berate or belittle yourself.
When you get better at showing compassion to yourself in the day-to-day, you will find it flows over to old patterns of guilt that you might have carried for years. You might find you can finally forgive yourself for not visiting a sick friend who died while you were on a work assignment elsewhere. You might find you can forgive yourself for old hurts when you were unkind to others. You may even find this flows over into forgiving others who hurt you badly in the past – after all, that too, is being compassionate…
While I’ve spoken here about being kind to yourself on the emotional level, you might also reflect on other ways to be kind to yourself on other levels:
· eating food that nurtures your body and is kind to your digestive system
· getting good quality sleep
· doing yoga, meditation, going for a long walk, having a massage
· reading a book or watching a film
· spending a relaxing time with a dear friend
And probably the most important – if you’ve completed a Reiki seminar – daily practice of self-Reiki
Go on – give it a go – be kind to yourself today…