Wednesday, January 5, 2011

kindness: here we go

My word for this year is kindness. It's not a resolution, it's just something I want to think about more.

I am on the phone a lot right now trying to arrange services for my kids. Sometimes it feels like the conversation could easily become confrontational and confrontation makes me squirm. But I've noticed that if I approach that conversation with kindness, I always feel better afterward. Kindness makes me feel good and settled. Defensiveness makes me feel on edge and upset. And I would just rather feel good and settled, you know? I pretty much want to feel good and settled as much as possible.

But I also think kindness means having a bit of a backbone. It's not kind to my kids or myself if I just let us fall through the cracks. Right now kindness means calling the Special Ed office every day until I get things squared away. It means being assertive. It means showing up and getting the job done.

Since thinking more about kindness I've also been noticing that choosing kindness will mean letting go of perfection. Trying to make things perfect, often makes me mean. Trying to get out the door, on time, with my hair just so, and the toys neatly stacked and the bathroom freshly scrubbed makes me stressed which makes me mean. I've noticed that a lot of my standards are not kind ones. They are vain ones. And letting go of that will be hard. Let's be honest, it just might not happen, but it's sure worth some more thought.

I definitely don't want kindness to be the goal. I don't want to put myself in the position that this kindness thing backfires. I can easily see myself starting to get upset about something, remembering that my aim is kindness, and then feeling worse, not better. Sadly, my inner critic can be brutal about that kind of thing.

So this year I am going to think and reflect about kindness. I won't always be kind. I know that going in. Heck, it's the 5th and I already have lots of examples of times when I was not kind. But I want to notice more the times when I am kind and what it means and what happens when I am. I think that kindness could end up being a good tool helping me to be assertive and helping me to reach out more.

I am starting a kindness journal, inspired by Ali Edwards' One Little Word class.

We'll see where this goes. Hopefully very, very far.


debs14 said...

Kindness is such a good word, and you can look at it both ways, kindness to yourself and the things that are important to you as well as kindness to others.
Promise me one thing - that you won't miss one moment of your boys growing up because the floor needs sweeping or the windows need washing. You can never get quality time with your kids back, the housework can always be done another time! If it's a toss up between a quick trip to the park or a wash of a floor, the park ALWAYS has to win - OK? Lecture over!

Ruth said...

I have to agree with Debs. I think that kindness is an excellent word choice for 2011 ~ probably one that I should give some thought to. I'm cheering you on.

Julie said...

I love this idea! And Kindness is a great word!

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

That is a great word for the year!