Cultivating kindness to help relationships

I’ve been reflecting this week on the power of kindness. Many times I sit with clients who seem to have a huge capacity to care, and do much for relatives and friends, and yet are experiencing their lives as a kind of silent torture, full of frustration and anger, and feeling they don’t matter.

A good indicator of how you feel deep down is how you speak to other people. Begin to notice how you talk to them. Are the ways you think about what is happening colouring what you notice and how you respond? Are you experiencing frustration, insecurity, fear or anger, and acting out of these emotions? Do you speak kindly to others or have you fallen into an autopilot pattern of speaking in a harsh tone? Do you come across as critical or judgmental?

There is a saying that we can only be as kind to others as we are to ourselves. To give with an open heart requires a full heart, a heart full of kindness and love for ourselves that can overspill to support and cherish others. Pause frequently and take a few moments to notice how you speak to yourself. What is your inner commentator saying? Is it cheering you on as you face life’s challenges, or does it criticise you unfairly? Are those same emotions – frustration, insecurity, fear or anger – being turned inwards? I sometimes ask people if they would speak to their best friend the way they speak to themselves in their head – what is the answer to this question for you?

The key to being kind is to soften how we treat ourselves. Instead of the fierceness it is so easy to fall into, talk in a nurturing tone inside.  Be patient with yourself. Recognise and praise yourself for your efforts, and forgive yourself for your shortcomings.

This is not about indulgence or letting yourself off the hook. It’s about honesty and balance, really seeing what is happening and looking without judgement. We are all human, expecting perfection is likely to lead to disappointment. It’s funny how finding a kind and forgiving way of being with yourself seems to unlock energy and well-being, ultimately letting the results take care of themselves.

So, what one kindness will you do for yourself today?

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Darlington, County Durham, DL2
Written by Fe Robinson, Psychotherapist, EMDR Therapist & Couples Counsellor
Darlington, County Durham, DL2

Sometimes working out what kind of therapy you want and who you want to see for it can be a daunting task. To help you, I've explained here the way I work and some of the reasons clients have come to see me in the past. My name is Fe and I am a Psychotherapist, EMDR therapist and Couples Counsellor...

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