Too nice?

Kindness is Life FuelHas anyone ever said to you, “You’re too nice.”? People have said that to me and I’m always puzzled by their statement. What does it mean to be too nice? Is this even possible? As I’ve reflected upon this I see that there are times when I am too nice. When I put other people’s needs ahead of mine. When I don’t play by the rules of the game but rather by my rules for kindness. These both might be instances of being too nice.

In the first case, when I put other people’s needs ahead of mine, I may in fact be too nice. I may be giving them too much and putting them ahead of me in a way that is unfair to my needs. However, there may be times when my needs can be put aside ahead of someone else’s as a kind gesture that helps them through a certain situation or a difficult time or it’s simply an act of kindness.

In the second case, where I don’t follow the rules and put kindness first, this can be problematic as it may interrupt the social norm for behavior at that time. I may be putting kindness ahead of competitiveness which breaks with the rule that everyone else is following. Sometimes this is completely appropriate, I think, especially when the competitiveness leads to unkindness.

How do we make sure we’re creating the right balance between our personal needs and our desire to be kind? How do we help others while at the same time taking good care of ourselves? For me, this often takes the form of a gut check. How am I feeling about myself at this moment? Am I feeling good and confident about myself? Or is the action that I’m about to take causing me to set aside my highest self?

In order to do this gut check, you must be connected to your feelings. This requires ongoing check ins with your mind, body, and spirit because if you lose that connection to yourself you won’t have an effective gut check.  You’ll be so tuned out to yourself that you won’t know how you feel.

As always, excellent self-care through great food, exercise, Reiki, social connections, sleep, and all those things that make you most fulfilled, allow you to keep in contact with your feelings so gut checking can happen quickly and with integrity.  Then go for it and be kind to your heart’s content!

Wishing you abundant kindness!

Be Gentle with Yourself

lion licking foot I’m startled sometimes by the harsh words that people use when talking about themselves. These are people who I know would not speak that way to another person, but they feel completely comfortable using words of disgust, hatred, and criticism towards themselves. When speaking of another person they often find a good side to that person’s personality or behavior, but when they speak of themselves extreme criticism is the norm.

To these people, I say, “Be gentle with yourself.” Imagine you’re a small child, just learning your way in the world, you deserve kindness and caring. You deserve to feel good about yourself. As you are kind with others, be kind to yourself.

Why is that we find it difficult at times to be kind to ourselves? Do we hold ourselves to such unattainable high standards and therefore measure ourselves as failing to meet those standards? Do we lack humor and gentleness and don’t know how to apply these in our life?

As I’ve reflected on this statement, “Be gentle with yourself,” I have become more and more aware of a lack of gentleness in our society. As we work aggressively toward deadlines, drive our point home, and push to be first — we leave behind gentle words, a kind touch, an astute observation, and a listening ear.

One way we can practice being gentle with ourselves is by doing self-Reiki. This practice is the cornerstone of a Reiki level 1 class. Daily self-Reiki is a way to connect with our higher selves, a way to delve into our human experience, and a way to connection with the best that is within us. By practicing self-Reiki we are engaged in daily self-care which can be a foundation for being gentle with oneself.

What are your experiences with being gentle with yourself? Has there been a time in your life when you were highly self-critical? What brought that on? How did you work with it? What self-care practices do you use? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Wishing you the light and gentleness of the universe.