We live in a world that can feel deficient in the amount of kindness being passed around. For me, it seems humans could use kindness now more than ever. Personally, I enjoy coming across a post on social media or a person wearing a t-shirt that encourages us to be kind to one another. I think my favorite saying might be “throw kindness around like confetti!” I believe a simple kindness can make a huge difference in someone’s day, possibly even their entire outlook on life. Kindness potentially can save a life. I try to always treat others with basic kindness; like giving a compliment. Then there are times I like to kick kindness up a notch and do something like putting money into a vending machine. I’ll leave a little note saying “Your drink or snack is on me. Kindness is contagious, pass it on!” I like to think it makes a difference in someone’s day and I know it makes a difference in mine.

I believe kindness is amazing and can have a transformative effect. Isn’t it interesting that it’s only been within the past few months that I‘ve started to think I could benefit by treating myself as kindly as I try to treat others? It’s been uncomfortable for me to treat myself with a basic amount of kindness for different reasons. First and foremost, I’ve had a lifetime struggle with depression and anxiety. The internal darkness I’ve faced programmed me into believing there isn’t anything worthwhile about me. If my darkness was to be believed, I have absolutely no goodness inside of me and don’t deserve any amount of kindness from anyone. EVER. I also grew up part of a hurt family (dysfunctional) and I tend to be drawn to other hurt people (toxic) who aren’t working on any type of self-reflection to heal their pain. Hurt people almost always hurt other people. I’ve spent far too much time on the receiving end of that hurt being directed at me like a weapon. The brutal and untrue thoughts of myself combined with the external cruel words from others became a formidable fog of self-hatred and darkness that settled around me for most of my 54 years. I believed I was unworthy of kindness and love, unworthy of even existing. I believed I deserved to be despised, ridiculed, and tormented. Anything bad that ever happened to me I felt I was deserving of, and the Universe was doling out righteous punishment. With that dark mindset, there’s no room for kindness.

Somehow a day finally came where I started to question those long-held beliefs about myself. I started wondering why I was always so darn mean to myself while being so kind to strangers. I can’t recall exactly what happened. I only know that once that thought entered my mind, I’ve worked very hard not to lose it. I feel the Pandemic and the loss of my brother helped me start to take care of myself emotionally. My brother, Craig, was my great champion. I never realized how much I depended on him emotionally until he died last summer. No matter what, I could count on Craig to help me feel better about who I was and help encourage me to believe in myself. I also have a few true friends I depend on emotionally. Living alone, practicing social distancing, and finding myself spending most of my time alone, save for my adult son, I think it became a matter of survival. I started to become more self-reliant emotionally. I didn’t have my brother here to blanket me in his kindness to compensate for someone treating me poorly. I also didn’t have in person contact with my friends who so often propped me up with their kindness.

I’ve always heard mental health professionals talk about the wounded inner child and I’ve never understood what I could do to help heal that sad and lonely little girl inside of me. It’s not that I didn’t believe in the theory, but to do anything about it seemed like a code I couldn’t crack. It felt complicated and overwhelming. I had no idea where to start. Of course, I didn’t! I had to begin believing I deserve to be treated as well as others.

It turns out helping heal my darkness and that deep inner emotional wound isn’t as complicated as I thought. The first step was to stop being mean and angry with myself. The second step was to start being kind to myself. BUT for something to be simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. For many, to start believing we deserve to be treated kindly can be a massive obstacle. I try to remember we all deserve credit for facing our darkness every day and night of our lives. To continue showing up for our battle against the darkness, kindness is key.

Let Kindness Be Our Light.

About the Author

Kim Seitz has worked in the mortgage industry for over 20 years. She has a son, is an avid runner and lives with her two dogs and one cat.