As the year starts to near its close, I’ve been reflecting on what has had a significant impact on me in 2016. As I thought through everything that has impacted me this year, there was an underlying element that connected it all: kindness. Kindness was present in everything that has influenced me this year, and is a value that I have prioritized in my own visions.
As I have grown older, the concept of giving to others has become a large part of the values that I cherish. Giving to others fills my heart and soul with such warmth, happiness, and gratitude that I couldn’t imagine my life without it. Kindness fosters connection, and connection fosters community, and community fosters love. This year, though it has been one of the most challenging years I have experienced, has been full of love. Love from all of the connections and communities that I have made brightens all of my days.
So how did this become such a large part of my life? When I was younger, volunteer work was something that brought me immense joy. I loved to help others, and I gained many relationships from those experiences. In high school I had more difficulty bringing the kindness I cherished into my school life, and that was something that I chose to change once I came to college. I was more reserved in high school, and I didn’t portray positivity and kindness as often as I do now. If there is something that I have learned, it is that the vibes that you embody provide a glimpse into your character. Over the past year I have become more aligned with my true self, and my compassion and kindness shows with little effort in all situations.
My transition to veganism created a new sphere of kindness in my heart and mind, and brought a new community of like-minded individuals into my life. My blog gave me connections with creatives that inspire me every day. My blogging journey has been all about collaboration over competition, and I am beyond grateful for the supportive community that I have become a part of.
Though it has given me many benefits, kindness hasn’t always been the easiest path. But the communities that I have become a part of have motivated me to keep my passion for positivity and compassion a priority. As Lilly Singh (AKA Superwoman) and Humble the Poet often emphasize, promote what you love. This resonates with me, because the antithesis to kindness and compassion is negativity and enmity. Instead of reciprocating in those situations with negativity and enmity of my own, I channel gratitude and compassion. I promote what I love, and encourage others to do the same.
The quote “happy mind happy life” resonates with this practice because I have found it to be brimming with truth. As soon as you change your perspective, you change your life. If something goes wrong, my mind now searches for a positive (or a bit of humor to lighten the situation). I celebrate all of my successes and failures, the latter especially after reading an article about how a family would hold rounds of applause for their biggest failures each day. Failure is a way to grow, and when you look at it in that light you start moving in the right direction. Success and failure both lead in the same direction, though at different paces. Being kind to yourself is the first step to being kind with others. The more you love yourself, the more you can spread that love to those around you.
There will be times throughout the day where I catch myself saying “you got this,” “that was pretty impressive,” and other such phrases to myself. I have gotten in the habit of speaking as kindly to myself as I aspire to speak to others, and the results have been amazing. What was once “I can’t believe you couldn’t do that” has now become “you did the best that you could at the moment, and there are always more opportunities”. While it might not seem significant at first, being kind to yourself and celebrating your achievements changes your mindset. Positivity becomes second nature, and life gets that much brighter.
It has also helped me to deal with less than favorable circumstances. As you may know, Astrology has been a part of my life for a while now. When the planet Mercury (which is my ruling planet as a Virgo) goes into retrograde, the smallest inconveniences become frequent and magnified. For example, during a retrograde this year I was putting on one of my shoes and one of my shoelaces just managed to become completely undone and frayed in a matter of seconds before breaking to a length that couldn’t be tied. I had no explanation (and was also running late), so I grabbed my scissors, trimmed the lace to a workable shape, and tied it in a makeshift knot that would stay put for the time being. I laughed the entire time, wondering how it was possible for my perfectly functional and relatively new shoelace to seemingly combust in a matter of seconds. Instead of worrying about being more late, I found the humor and still remember it as a positive experience to this day.
Kindness to myself and others, as well as the pursuit of positivity, have made my life one I enjoy living. There are ups and downs, but more often than not I am happy and ready to handle what is thrown my way. As Cinderella states, we must always stay humble and kind, mustn’t we?
©2016 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.