Kindness is an inside job and begins with your personal dialogue, narrative, perception and belief systems. Any gesture of gentleness, honesty and awareness towards yourself will colour the lens in which you experience the world, transforming your outlook to allow inner expressions of kindness to radiate outwards, rippling powerfully. Mere niceness is placid. It will not compel you to identify, set or uphold boundaries. Niceness only placates, pleases, panders and performs, keeping you small, stuck and disempowered. Niceness does not speak truth. It will not sit in the dirt with you or beckon your raw and innate power, urging you to rise above and beyond. Ultimately, it is too proper for the wild, untame and holy nature of your being.
Kindness has an undeniable healing power. Just as the body’s overall state of wellness relies on the health of individual cells, our energy, actions and philosophies contribute to an atmosphere of illumination or extinguishment. Kindness has a domino effect rooted entirely in grace. By its very nature, it cannot stay put or be hoarded, imprisoned, made stationary or dormant. To be tenderhearted is to practice openness, offer up forgiveness and release oneself from undue burden. This is not a dramatic moment of transformation where you were once lost and in an instant become found. It’s rooted in flow, perspective, outlook and disposition. A mode of operation in which you traverse a spectrum, acknowledging the nonlinearity within the process.
Richard Rohr said: “Unforgiveness lives in a repetitive past which it cannot let go of and insists on being bound to. Forgiveness is a largeness of the soul and takes a big person. Without it, there is no future or creative action, only the perseverance of old storylines, remembered hurts and ever increasing claims to victimhood for all concerned. The Crucified and Risen Christ uses past mistakes to forge a positive future where redemption prevails over retribution. Christ does not eliminate or punish mistakes, instead using them to demonstrate teachable moments. Character formed by such love is indestructible. Forgiveness might be the very best description of what God’s goodness engenders in humanity.”
Forgive yourself for striving to reach unrealistic quotas and standards, for holding onto regret, for seeking justice and reckoning that you know will fail to repay what was taken from you. Forgive yourself for not measuring up to the inhumane and ridiculous societal standards set up in the name of religion, community, country, politics and success. Forgiveness is a gift, the ultimate act of humility and responsibility. It’s the beginning of taking your power back from ego and pride, placing it into the rightful hands of your truest and just self. You’ll see the chances you’ve longed for within yourself and the circles you frequent after centering your life around this standard of compassion. Rewrite all accounts of condemnation to be worthy allies of radical change and conversion.