In all things, no matter what, be kind to yourself. Regardless of what you said, of the actions you took, or the hurt or harm you may have caused, be kind to yourself. Regardless of what has been done to you, be kind to yourself. Life, and the world will throw enough stones, will seek to persecute and crucify you, will punish you, and will demean you. You don’t need to add anything. So, in all things, be kind to yourself.
Kindness will not change the facts of what happened. Neither the facts of what has happened to you, nor the facts of what you have done. Kindness, wholehearted kindness allows space for all that has occurred and all that will occur, while also allowing space for all that is in your heart.
When you touch your own heart with your own kindness, you find a place to exist within all things. You find a point a softness, an eye within the storm, where you can begin to breathe, to catch your breath. With each breath, the soft point can grow little by little. There will still be pain, perhaps like sharp needles or even swords piercing into your heart. This is true for this human experience is full of pain. As our eyes soften with the kindness in our heart, our capacity to see the pain, both that which we have experienced and that which we have caused, expands. In the experience of the pain of what you are seeing, invite yourself to continue to be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself. Let your own heart be your place of redemption.
The fullness of this process may bring you to your knees. It is powerful. It is other than what society expects. It is other than how we have been enculturated. This is not giving yourself a free ride or giving others a free ride or even forgiving others. The kinder you are to yourself, the clearer you can see the harsh realities of this human existence. You can bear to see more. To continue to see requires continuing to be kind, to develop your muscles of kindness.
Kindness will melt the bars that imprison your heart. Bars which were likely built by you to protect your heart, to help you survive, yet now imprison you. As a result, kindness to yourself takes great courage. As you feel the bars of perceived protection begin to melt, you will feel exposed. You may think you are left raw and vulnerable, nothing to protect you, nothing to hide behind. It is true that kindness will not let you hide, neither from yourself nor the circumstances of life. But neither will kindness, if you befriend it, neither will kindness abandon you. It will be a constant companion, a constant resource, a constant safe and resting place.
Befriending kindness takes practice. Bit by bit, every day a turning towards kindness, reminding yourself to be kind to yourself. You need to become familiar with what kindness feels like, to get to know its form and capacity. Build your trust in kindness. Let yourself be curious. Take small steps each day and slowly you will find yourself spending more and more time with kindness. Kindness, as you befriend it, will become one you desire to spend time with. The ache of seeing the truth will become familiar to you and become less frightening because kindness is now your companion. You know you can bear all of life because you know kindness is with you.
Kindness will become a companion you can call on when you make decisions which lead your speech and actions. Your decisions will be informed by kindness. When you are faced with difficult things, you will make decisions and take actions which are kind to you. Kindness to yourself, in yourself, as an integral companion in your heart, will cause you to be kinder to others. Sometimes others may not perceive it as kindness, especially if it is behavior different than what they are used to from you. Kindness will lead you to make different decisions, which may include boundaries of recognizing what is not safe for you, what is not helpful for you. To recognize that which takes away from you without also providing room for you to recover. People will react however they react to this. It takes practice to allow those reactions, to be faithful to kindness, to learn its ways and to trust that it is allowing you to be whole.
It takes time also to learn all the ways in which you are not kind to yourself. To discern the nature of the voices in your mind which speak down to you, against you, berate you, confine you, fill you with regrets, torment you, cause anxiety. The voices that tell you to not trust yourself, make you believe you are worthless, unlovable, that something is wrong with you. Have you believe if people knew who you really are they will reject you, be disgusted with you, despise you. All those voices and beliefs of your own mind will fight against kindness. They will hide in the recessed corners and folds of your psyche, disguising themselves so well you don't even know they are there.
A continual relationship with kindness will foster vision and discernment so you can see through more and more of the disguises of those voices. You can greet them and say I see you. I hear you. You are not mine and I release you. Each voice that is released will also reveal that which it was protecting. Some vulnerable part of you which took up refuge behind that voice, believed only that voice could protect it. So you will need the strength of kindness to be with you as you take that part of yourself into your arms and soothe it after all these years of pain. Listen to it. Let it speak to you. Don't expect it to be suddenly relieved and free. That part of you will be afraid here in this unknown place, with its long known, perceived protector gone. Be patient. Be kind. Let that part have all the time it needs to heal and come to know you, come to know kindness.
This is a practice of a lifetime. It is a practice which is benefited by as much quiet reflection as you can afford. It is a practice which can be with you every moment of your day no matter the events and circumstances of your day. This ability will build over time. Be patient with yourself in the building a relationship with kindness. It won't be something you can do every moment. You will forget. You will fall into old habits. The hidden voices will take over you. You will fail because you are human. When you see you have failed, meet the failing with kindness. Feel the softening in this moment of meeting your own failure with kindness. Feel the sadness, the disappointment, the pain. Feel it all in the softness of kindness. Don’t disparage yourself. What has happened, has happened. Be kind. Let kindness open the space for all of everything to be.
You may be afraid that all the kindness, all the softness will lead you to inaction. This is not true. Kindness will lead you to action. It will guide you to respond and be with you as you respond. Trust the process. Be patient. Trust kindness and it will not abandon you. In all things, no matter what, be kind to yourself.