kindness-starts-with-you

I shutter to think of the hollow shell of a woman I was seven months ago. I was elbow deep in postpartum depression and I wrote something that had a much stronger impact than I ever could have anticipated. I can pinpoint this as my lowest moment— when my entire world was rocked by my words.

Everything I knew was being challenged and I found myself struggling to get out of bed in the morning. I was out of a job before I had even begun, people who had no ties to the situation were holding it over my head like an unforgivable sin, and I was reminded that things are not always as they seem— as my quest to shine light on an issue resulted in me doing the very thing I was trying to fight against. It was a brutal reminder that life is not black and white and that actions, however well meaning, have consequences.

I’ve blossomed since then. The upside to having your world turned around is that it forces you to look at yourself from another angle. From upside down, I could see the spots in my heart that needed to change.

And so, I got to work.

I realized that the first step to changing the world is to better yourself. We tend to leave ourselves unscathed when we are on a mission of philanthropy, because we believe that our hearts are already good enough. But good enough was no longer going to be good enough for me. So I checked my inhibitions at the door and started searching for more.

The most important thing I began doing every single day, was changing the way I spoke to myself. Have you ever noticed the things you say to yourself/about yourself to others? The words I spoke of myself daily are things I would never dare utter about another person, so why on earth did I deem them appropriate to say to my own heart?

How can I claim to be a kind person when I can’t even be kind to myself? I couldn’t— and it was time to change that.

I began speaking words of affirmation, twice a day and this changed my soul from the inside, out.

I am strong. 

I am worthy. 

I am the best mother for my children. 

I am a wonderful wife. 

I am kind. 

I am patient. 

I am capable.

I am beautiful. 

My body is perfect because it gave me the greatest joys of my life. 

I see the good in others. 

I can make a difference.

I am stronger than the urges to put myself or others down. 

I am a safe space for others. 

I will speak up immediately when I see someone being mistreated and I will do so with kindness. 

My past does not define me. 

They can vary on any given day, but you get this jist.

At first, I felt silly— embarrassed even, despite nobody being able to hear me when I recited them. But after about a week of committing myself to working through the feelings of insecurity and silliness, I noticed that I was smiling more. I was giving out more compliments to others. I had more patience. Even the way I hugged people changed.

My cousin once told me that I had the softest hugs of anyone she’s ever known. It made me wonder why I chose to restrain myself in this act of affection with people— because I knew that the volume of my love was not reflected in those soft little hugs. I’ve realized now, that it was a defense mechanism I had developed years ago.

My shields are all down today, and when I embrace people, I do so with my whole heart.

These changes all came from speaking to myself with kindness.

Does your heart need a little TLC?

It’s time to start talking to yourself the way you’d want others to talk about you at your funeral— with the upmost love and respect.

Use my affirmations and add your own. Print them out and stick that sheet of paper on your bathroom mirror, or refrigerator, or the back of your toddlers shirt. I don’t care where you put it, just get it in writing and get it up in your face somewhere.

And then read it, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Shout them, whisper them, sing them— just make sure to say them aloud.

Words hold so much power. They can move us to tears, lead men & women into war, and ignite change.

If your heart is struggling, do this, and watch it transform.

This world needs more love— and it starts with showing love to ourselves.

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