In a world where you can be anything, be kind.
This phrase is one I’m sure we’ve all heard often, maybe even seen it on a poster in a school or social media post. Recently it has hit home with me, and aligns with my goals for 2022.
I recently read the book “Raising Good Humans” by Hunter Clarke-Fields, and one of her main points is that the best way to help children when they are struggling is to show empathy and curiosity about the reason they are struggling. Getting angry, passing judgment about their behavior, and yelling usually has the opposite effect, and won’t help the child build emotional intelligence or confidence. I think this is a lesson that we can also use with each other as mamas, and really all those who are in our lives.
It’s so easy to be quick to judge someone.
Today it’s even easier to say judgmental things that you otherwise may not when you can hide behind a screen. But the truth is, we don’t know each other’s struggles. And passing judgment when we don’t know the whole story about someone only alienates them more when they’re likely already struggling and creates divides between us. Just think about the last time you were struggling with someone and another person showed you judgment and criticism? You were probably already having a hard time, and their cold words and actions just made you feel even worse.
I still recall the scene from Ted Lasso, where he says “be curious, not judgmental”. I liked the quote so much I put it on my computer at work to remind me when I’m in a situation where it seems like someone made a poor choice or isn’t pulling their weight that I don’t know the whole story, and I’ll benefit for more from showing them kindness and curiosity than coldness and judgment, even if I truly think they made a poor choice. In the times I’ve been able to put it into practice, I’ve learned a great deal about others and their challenges, and have built connections I otherwise would not have.
“Have Grace, breathe, and let it go”
This is another phrase I’m trying to keep in the front of my mind for 2022. I’m trying to bring more of a positive mindset to the situations that bring me frustration. I’ve always struggled with letting my frustrations get the best of me, and have realized it’s exhausting being captive to the negativity. Have I perfected this yet? No! But I’m working on it, and I hope to end 2022 as a kinder, more calm person. I know that practicing this will make me a better mother and fellow human. And it will probably be better for my mental and physical health…
To help me with this, I have begun a daily meditation practice – I try to meditate for a few minutes both when I wake up, and before I go to bed. I use the app insight timer, which has thousands of free guided meditations, or music for meditation. It’s a great resource for those just looking to build a practice, but not sure where to begin. I think this practice has helped me get out of my head and detach from negative emotions, where previously I would not have been able to do that. I look forward to seeing the benefits of continuing this practice.
So mamas, let’s shake the temptation of judgment and criticism, and bring a little more kindness and grace into this world. That mama who always seems alone? Invite her to join you and your friends. The mama who is clearly mortified at the store because her kid is having a tantrum? Give her a welcome smile, tell her she’s doing great and that you’ve been there too. After all, we’re all just doing the best that we can.
How are you going to spread kindness today?
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