Burnout expert and Founder and CEO of Softer Success, Cara de Lange, tells us why internal kindness is so important.
I firmly believe that by spreading kindness across the world we are able to bring positivity and ease any feelings of anxiety or uncertainty. Kindness has the power to bring communities together and even just a smile from a stranger can lift spirits.
How can we be kind to others?
At Softer Success our work is based on the ethos that being kind to yourself means you take care of yourself; you respect yourself; you forgive yourself. It means you are more gentle with yourself and are able to soothe yourself. There are so many ways to be kind to yourself. But what is clear is that by being kind to yourself you will feel better about yourself and this will help you take better care of other people too.
Here are just some of the ways to be kind to yourself and others…
A good way to start being kind to yourself is by accepting yourself completely. It is easy to accept the part of you that is happy, joyful, in love or funny or strong. But what about other characteristics like anger, envy or jealousy? Most people find it much harder to accept these emotions and sometimes push them away. We all have good sides and not so good sides. But when you can learn to accept your dark side, as well as the radiant, you can love your whole self.
You can practice this self-compassion meditation, which only takes a few minutes and when practised regularly, can really change your mindset.
Sit down in a comfortable place. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Repeat these phrases.
- I love myself deeply.
- I accept myself as I am.
- I am peaceful and happy.
When you can change your mindset, it is hugely powerful. You will feel more powerful, simply because you love yourself. Your success is in looking after yourself and treating yourself with great love.
Avoid saying negative things about yourself and other people. I know this is tough. Especially during times of crisis as there’s a lot of anger and frustration. But it is scientifically proven that it is possible to reduce worry by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. Notice when you are feeling negative or having negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. For example –‘Why is this happening?’ to ‘We can all help each other get through this’
Smiling will not only lift your mood but the mood of others around you. It can be unusual to see strangers smile at you from across the street, but it really can make the difference to a person’s day to see a friendly smile.
The more you practice kindness to other people, the happier you will be.
Reach out to others
I’ve always enjoyed sending cards and small gifts to friends and family. Once I even sent a friend a small chocolate bar in the post – no note needed! Write thank you notes; send cards and letters. There has been an upsurge in postcards and ‘snail mail’ since we’ve been spending more time at home which is great. Give it a try – send some snail mails to family and friends – you’ll feel good about it.
It’s so important to be kind to yourself and other people. Accept yourself and be grateful for yourself. If it starts with you, then this can spread and we can all learn to be kinder and nicer to each other. Kindness is contagious. This world can be really harsh – especially at the moment; why not bring some kindness into it. That may just have a ripple effect on others too.
As the Dalai Lama has advocated for years.
“There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple. The philosophy is kindness.”
– 18th Dalai Lama
About the expert
Cara de Lange is an international burnout expert, speaker and founder and author of Softer Success, empowering some of the world’s leading organisations and their employees to proactively prevent burnout. Cara’s powerful programme ‘Prevent Burnout, Find Balance’ enables individual clients and corporate teams to create a more harmonious, peaceful and productive life.
Cara is a sought-after keynote speaker on the subject of burnout and has been invited to speak at organisations such as Google, Box and European Women in Tech. Her book Softer Success: Prevent Burnout, Find Balance and Re-Define Your Success, published in 2019 is available from Amazon, Waterstones and Barnes & Noble. (www.softersuccess.com)