Kindness for my new year

Firstly, a happy new year to you! I’m a week “late”…it’s taken me that long to recover from 2012 😉

I’ve also been thinking about new year…goals. Many people don’t like resolutions, or maybe it’s just the word “resolutions,” because it conjures up fears and assumptions of failure before Valentine’s Day even arrives. I was struck by wonderful posts like this one where Rudri talks about the focus on a key word, and this one, where GG Renee asks us how we want to feel in 2013. I am incorporating both into my new year: my word is kindness and I want to feel alive.

I choose kindness because all my life I’ve been nice (and its cousin, polite), and I’ve neglected “kind” because I’d simply assumed that I’m that too. Except in recent years I’ve noticed that I’m not. Or, I am, but not as kind as I could be, and not as kind as I am nice, or polite, which I’ve honed to perfection.

It’s easy to be polite because it’s a script. Thank you, please, I’m so sorry, won’t you kindly, etc. It’s automatic and automated. While I enjoy being polite and often can’t even turn it off, I don’t think it requires a whole lot of feeling or discipline, at least not on my part.

And it’s effortless to be nice if you, like me, do not want to be disliked. People-pleasers are nice, because otherwise they cannot meet their goal of having the whole world like them!

Now kind. Kind is a different animal. It requires work and thought and self awareness and self control and selflessness. Kind is nice when no one is looking. Kind is being able to let it be about the other person (though ultimately the biggest beneficiary may be you/us).

Kind is being grateful. Grateful to have been thought of and to have been given, not critical at the gift.

Kind is seeing the light in somebody, rather than the dark. It is feeling good and proud to see the light and threatened when you see the dark, rather than the other way around.

Kind is ignoring the arrows that your anger or resentment so desperately wants to send, and choosing instead words that will preserve the feelings of that other person.

Kind is being kind to ourselves first, because often we are the first and largest targets of our own arrows. And when we feel wounded, it’s hard to be much of a light for anyone else.

And this year I want to feel alive. “Alive” carries a more literal meaning for those who know depression. I was not depressed in 2012 but maybe something in my psychological makeup prevents me from being on and present as much as I would like. I want to feel purposeful, to have daily goals, to not squander the time that drips daily in my life’s hour glass.

Last year too many days passed where I was neither productive nor relaxed. I had reasons to enjoy down time, from a break from my pressured work season to the time needed to heal from my injury. But I poisoned my quiet time with guilt – guilt that I wasn’t doing enough.  I need to make a decision about how I feel about down time. Do I deserve it? If yes, then enjoy it; if not, then work! But what I can’t do is give myself chunks of self-time but NOT permission to enjoy it.

And I spent too many days wasted on negative emotions. These were days when I let my mind take over…everything. In the land of my body my mind was a dictator and my heart its victim. It’s powerful and mighty, that mind of mine. Critical thoughts, over analyses…strong enough to have battered me to an emotional crawl, to have sent me to the doctor’s wondering why I was always feeling sick.

My mind needs a coup d’etat…by kindness.

What do you want for your new year, for your new you?

9 thoughts on “Kindness for my new year

  1. This is so timely. I’ve decided “kindness” is my word, too. I’ve even been toying with the idea of getting it tattooed on my somewhere for my upcoming 35th birthday. But tell me (and don’t be kind, nice, or polite 🙂 ), are tattoos trashy on 30-something moms of three??

  2. I love your word. I tried choosing a word, but I couldn’t. I think I just want, in the new year, to continue more of what I’ve been doing: taking care of myself, not seeking validation online, being present, eating well, and writing.

    Happy New Year, Cecilia! I hope this year brings you all that you hope for and more!

    • And that sounds good, too, Jessica! Actually, your words fit what I want too. Plus sleep. Maybe I should have chosen “sleep” as my “word”…

      Happy new year to you too! May you continue to take good care of yourself…and the rest should fall into place. xo

  3. Kindness is a great word. Starting my own year with a post on a kindness that was bestowed on me and reading your own convictions about being kind has influenced me to really think about it. I am not a believer in resolutions myself and I was toying with a word for the year and why not kindness? We could all use more of it right?

    As for your comment on sleep? Amen, sister. I tried to tackle my sleep issues in the first week of the year (because I never seem to go to bed at a decent hour but still wake at the crack of dawn) and I had success getting to bed by 10pm only to stay up with my eyes wide open until past midnight because I couldn’t quiet my mind.

    Perhaps that’s next on the agenda – calming a busy mind.

  4. I’ve meant to comment for days…

    Kindness is a wonderful word for 2013.

    Have you read Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl? There is something in his philosophy that so appeals to me. I want to say more, but words elude me.

  5. Cecilia,

    I am so sorry I am late to this post. Many thanks for the shout out.

    Kindness is an excellent word and can be applied in so many areas of your life. Yourself, others, a tough situation, with your son/husband, etc. I am curious to see where this word of the year will take you. And I can’t wait to hear about it.


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