“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” When you read this quote by the Dalai Lama, what comes to mind? Coming to the aid of a neighbor down on her luck? Showing patience to the coworker who regularly tromps on your nerves? Volunteering at the local homeless shelter? We’re guessing that, to you, “being kind” almost always takes the form of you extending kindness outward.
If you’ve never read the children’s book, “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud, the premise is this: each of us walks around with and imaginary bucket. When we do or say something nice to another person, it fills their bucket. If we do or say something unkind, it causes their bucket to get a little emptier. The moral of the story is a useful, ageless one; do what you can to fill others’ buckets by being kind. A fitting read for World Kindness Day, don’t you think? We think so, too, and we’d like to put a slightly different spin on it.
Let’s talk about your own bucket for a while. It makes sense that you won’t do a very good job of filling others’ buckets if your own is dry and empty. You’ve undoubtedly experienced “dry bucket” times, where you’re simply spent and have nothing left to give. You feel resentful, tired, “at your wit’s end” and lackluster. It’s pretty miserable for you and others around you.
For these times, we have some tips on filling your own bucket – for being kind to yourself in honor of World Kindness Day.
- Do something you enjoy every day. You might say, “sure, I do that.” But do you, really? Think about your day – between work, making meals, errands, bills, and chores, how much of your day-to-day is really spent on doing something that makes you happier and/or healthier?
- If you make a mistake, be a friend to yourself. It’s so easy to let our inner critic run unchecked when we feel that we’ve messed up. Instead, think about how your parent or your best friend would respond if you told them what you’d done. Then talk to yourself the way that they would.
- Take steps to take loving care of your body. While we’re tempted to give the old “diet and exercise” speech (because those things are really, really important), we’d like to encourage you to think about the non-essential extra ways that you can care for yourself. Things like taking a bath with luxurious bath salts, getting a pedicure, or treating yourself to a wash and vacuum for your car can make you feel valued and cared-for – by YOU. And yes, massage fits quite nicely in this category, although it veers more into the “essential” category. Taking the 60 or 90 minutes to get a professional massage at our studio is a great investment in your current and future well-being. Not only does it improve your mood, but it helps keep you healthier, keeps your muscles and tendons working together the way they should, and helps clear your mind.
Being kind to yourself frees you up emotionally to extend kindness towards others in a genuine and meaningful way. Without feeling overextended or emotionally tapped, you’ll find that your connections with others feel better to everyone. With a full bucket, you’ll be better equipped to fill the buckets of your loved ones, and truly live out the kindness inside of you.