You will never regret being too kind to anyone. Kindness is contagious. There was a day when I was 17 that I will never forget. I was feeling so terrible about myself, had no confidence and couldn’t even look in the mirror. My family needed to go to the mall, so I went with them. I had 3 different people come up, give me compliments, and say the kindest things to me! It made me feel empowered, I felt so good, and it helped me more than I even knew I needed that day. Who knew complete strangers choosing to be kind could influence my mood drastically. Even though the beginning of that day was hard, it happened just the way it was supposed to because I’ll never forget the way those people made me feel ...
All of us are struggling with something others can’t see or don’t know about. Yet in today's society we can be quick to judge even when we know nothing about someone or what they have faced in life. Why is it that we can be unkind and criticize others when their life/choices have no direct impact on our lives? And how can we rise above this? Most of the time when we are unkind to one another it has nothing to do with the other person and everything to do with how we are feeling about ourselves/ what we have been exposed to. After all, hurt people, hurt people. I learned the hard way.
Growing up I was surrounded with a lot of unhappy people and constantly watched their behavior. These people were my role models, they were all I knew. Naturally I thought unkind behavior was normal, and that there weren't any other options in life. I thought I HAD to be like everyone else. What I didn’t realize until later is that it was okay to not be like everyone else. It was ok to want to be different and make a change.
For the majority of my life I wasn’t happy or confident with myself. I was hurt, felt unlovable, and no matter how hard I tried, was never good enough to please everyone at the same time. I would put a lot of energy into situations and people that I knew I shouldn’t because I thought if I could get everyone to like me all of my problems would magically disappear. Spending most of my life trying to be approved by others made me neglect myself in the process. There were a lot of times when younger me did and said things that I am not proud of today. They were an unhealthy way to cope with all the pain from my own insecurities. But they gave me a greater perspective on why others act the way they do, and made me realize that is not who I want to be or am.
In order to become the woman I needed/ wanted, I took baby steps to fully accept/ forgive myself so I could move on from the past and start putting my wellbing first. I had to WANT to change to better help myself. This meant:
I have chosen to learn and grow from every moment in my life, good or bad. To be proud that I have come this far and that I would never be the woman I am today without all the adversities.
Once I started implementing this daily I noticed changes in my mood, stress, physical health, had more energy/ motivation, and any anxiety/ depression became easier to handle. I started to feel like I had purpose, to understand everyone is facing their own battles, and that their attitudes may reflect that hardship. Loving myself made it easier to love everyone else. We cannot control others actions, we can only control how we react to them. Recognizing this made me happier, not only that; it brought me a sense of peace and my compassion started to wear off on other people too!
Those 3 people at the mall that day inspired me to be kinder to everyone, including myself. If mere words could make me feel that worthy, I wanted to provide that same feeling to others. What we dislike the most about ourselves, others find beautiful. I vowed to be a light to other people because I knew it could start to change someone’s whole life. We get to decide the type of impact we want to make in this world - no one can take that away from us. The key I needed to unlock a happier and more fulfilling life was right in front of me the whole time: kindness. As Carolie Flack said “in a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
Xoxo - Jenna Young
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