If you were hurting, discouraged, angry, indignant, despondent, uncomfortable and/or generally blah… What would a kind friend say to you?
There’s a good chance what you’re saying to yourself (your inner dialogue) is different from what a loving friend would say to you…
How compassionate are you with yourself?
Learning & Teaching Self-Compassion
Learning to be a kind and compassionate friend to yourself will make a world of difference.
I’ve been reading articles from a marriage and family therapist, Kim Fredrickson. She has battled cancer, and now is dealing with pulmonary fibrosis.
Her writing encourages me – she doesn’t deny there is bad stuff. How could she? She’s grappling with her own mortality, along with a complete change in her ability to live life… And yet she is also able to point her readers to a way of dealing with that bad stuff in an honest, compassionate, God-honoring manner.
Parenting: What would a kind friend say to your child?
Now, consider your role as a parent…
Yup. For those of us with small children, bigger children, and grown children, we might find ourselves cringing a bit. (I am.) Have you ever said or done something while responding to your children that you wish you hadn’t? Do you beat yourself up about it?
She provides both the big picture and the practical with ideas on how to respond to yourself and your children when life is frustrating.
“Self-compassion differs from self-esteem.”
“Self-compassion focuses on being kind to oneself while learning from life experiences. Our inherent value comes from being a unique creation of God, not because of our accomplishments.”
Kim Fredrickson – “Give Your Kids a Break: Parenting with Compassion for You and Your Children”
Are you kind to yourself while learning from the mess-ups?
Everything in life is not perfect and never will be. Being optimistic does NOT mean we ignore our messes and mistakes. There was only One human who walked this earth with the ability to be perfect. (It’s not you or me.)
Yes, we do need to deal with our own mistakes and possibly address the mess-ups our children/grandchildren make… But let’s do it kindly. Please.
Give yourself a break.
Let’s try to be as kind to ourself as a loving friend would be…
Kim covers such topics in her book as:
getting kids to listen
helping your kids with fear and anger
skills to help children work through tough situations
and much more.
This book is an affiliate link – should you click and purchase I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to items I feel will add value to your life. Thank you for your support.
Want to read more about kindness? Check out this post!
and words that pleasure you and rest you, softly spoken.
Unnumbered good days, peace of a starry night,
and love from dawn to dawn that’s an unbroken deep certainty in you…
I have no right to dream of it — but never doubt
I should give you such presents, if I could.
In addition to all those items mentioned in the poem above, I would add:
deep, rejuvenating sleep every night
healthy food when you’re hungry
hope for the future
the opportunity to pause and give thanks – ThanksLiving!
Are all these things really out of our ability to give?
Could we influence in some small way?
What would you give if you could?
Leave a comment and add to the list!
Who comes to mind first when you think of giving?
One of the phrases that stopped my reading was, “love from dawn to dawn that’s an unbroken deep certainty in you”. Read more about feeling loved here.
A post I read last week held such beautiful parental love – it caused me to reflect on my relationship with our grown children and the newest adventure of being a grandparent. Do you have the privilege of raising (or being a part of raising) a little one? Take a look at “While you were walking.”
Character = Who we are when no one is watching. Hopefully it’s good character!
“Good character is not formed in a week or a month.
It is created little by little, day by day.”
Social and News media is filled with scathing reports detailing the faults of individuals in all walks of life. No person is born with all these character deficits. Negative character qualities develop one at a time, day by day, just like as good qualities.
Do you relate? I’m sure you have a few character qualities you’d like people to overlook, just as I do… right? However, with this attitude, we might be adding to the problem, rather than improving it. Chicken or egg?
Is this good character just supposed to show up…?
If we are the only ones who can change ourselves, how much time and effort do we put into developing our own good character? And by acting and reacting, demonstrating a good character, how could we impact the world around us for good?
Developing Good Character
Perhaps I’m going out on a limb here – assuming the development of good character is important to you… <grin>
Parents care about the character of their children – but where do children first see examples of how to be? From their parents and caregivers, of course.
Perhaps it’s in our best interest to care about developing our own good character if we are invested in how the world around us behaves, rather than merely joining in on the criticism-fest.
Easier said than done? Maybe. Maybe not!
7 ways we could focus on developing good character:
PEOPLE: surrounding ourselves with people who demonstrate good character – it’s said we are the sum of those we spend time with.
READING: reading to develop our character – our brain needs sustenance, what are we feeding it?
WATCHING: being discerning in what we watch – oh, yes. TV – Movies – YouTube – streaming <sigh>
BOUNDARIES: setting boundaries in our life to manage areas where our character might be tempted or swayed. We are all susceptible.
DECISIONS: making decisions with deliberate care and consideration, not on a whim or in the middle of intense emotion.
HABITS: designing our habits to support our good character development. Habits. It’s the small things that make up the great things.
GREATER THAN OURSELF: following a higher ideal. The belief and adherence to something greater than our self will make a difference even when we fail. Rob and I are Christ followers and often speak of the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) as a barometer of our character.
Have I overlooked something? Would you add anything to this list? (Leave a comment to share, please! What has worked for you when you’ve been focused on character development?)
This book is a collection of stories and fables on virtues – character qualities. These moral stories provided the opportunity to ask questions and discuss ideas in areas like friendship, courage, honesty, compassion, and responsibility. Rob and I found some of the stories quite challenging and personally convicting. I’m looking forward to getting that book out of storage!
Another book I’ve been researching is called “What Do You Stand For? For Teens: A Guide to Building Character”. It has a teen version and a child version, along with the option of a game. If you don’t have teens in your home right now, the lists and questionnaires would still be good exercises to go through as an adult. What we need to learn isn’t defined by age.
And finally, here’s a one-page checklist to download as a reminder to focus on your character – it’s the above 7 points as questions to ask yourself. Post it on your bathroom mirror for a bit, and see if it sparks something positive. No email needed, click HERE to download.
Have your children been introduced to character building resources in school? Perhaps you’re a teacher… do you have any recommendations? Please leave a comment!
“Men of character are the conscience of the society to which they belong.”
Plant kindness. What grows from being kind to others is beautiful and nourishing.
Kind or Critical?
In case you were wondering, criticism is not kind. Criticism is like a poisonous weed.
I’m imagining criticism – that deliberate judgment of others – is like hogweed. Hogweed’s sap burns and scars.
If you try and mow or weed-whack a hogweed plant, it’ll just send up new growth. Isn’t that exactly like being judgmental? Start criticizing one action or aspect of a person’s character, and you’ll quickly find other points to criticize… And hogweed might appear to be Queen Anne’s Lace or Angelica, just like criticism can be disguised as helpful advice, but it’s not. Get involved in criticism and it’ll burn. And scar. You.
Plant a Garden of Kindness
Now, imagine a garden filled with beautiful flowers, fruit, and vegetables. It’s nourishing for the soul and body.
That’s just like kindness – when we watch others be kind, isn’t it a joy to behold? When we, ourselves, are beneficiaries of a kindness, isn’t it nourishing to every part of our life? And, when we are the authors of an act of kindness, isn’t it something we rejoice over with the other person?
Make this a day to sow seeds of kindness.
(Toss those critical thoughts/words on the burn pile!)
If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
~ Mother Teresa
Love does not judge.
Judgemental = having or displaying an excessively critical point of view.
Many times I feel judging and criticising are kin to each other.
Criticism = the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.
What do you think?
“Do not judge other people. Then you will not be judged. You will be judged in the same way you judge others. You will be measured in the same way you measure others. You look at the bit of sawdust in your friend’s eye. But you pay no attention to the piece of wood in your own eye.”