For the past 6 years, I have been slowly and, at times, painfully, deconstructing myself and putting myself back together again in an effort to live in alignment with my core values. I want what I say is important to me to be consistent with how I show up for myself, my family, friends, colleagues, clients, and community.
I am not going to lie! This process has had me on my knees more times than I care to admit. Can you say, “mid-life crisis”?! Yet at the same time, the willingness to do this humbling work on myself had led to the ease, grace, connection, authenticity, and fun that had been somewhat lacking in recent years as I fumble through “balancing” being a wife, mom, and entrepreneur (with workaholic tendencies) in this 24/7 digital culture we call “life”. I didn’t really feel like I was living. I mostly felt like I was doing. Incessantly. Without a break ever in sight. With the exception of the 5 hours of sleep I was getting a night!
I’m fascinated as I reflect on my journey and the commitment I made to myself in childhood to being my best self while also recognizing this parallel undercurrent of “not good enough” that has been an internal tussle going back as long as I can remember. I look at my bookshelf that literally and truly, is comprised only of self-help, positive psychology, personal and business transformation, leadership, mindfulness, health, healing, spirituality, and parenting titles. There is not one fiction book on these shelves. I kid you not!
It has felt like there has been an internal war going on inside of me, like I’m battling for my own existence, clawing my way to simply be who I am, without the mask, without explanation and justification, without apology. At times, I have looked at these bookshelves lined with my greatest teachers, mentors, and friends, and I’ve been judgmental and quite frankly, grieved in a way, for not being further down the road of self-actualization than I would expect myself to be given my devotion to these topics.
Somehow, some way, the “I will try harder” mantra and self-criticism has shifted to deep compassion for all of my mistakes, “shadow sides” as Debbie Ford calls them, and struggles, along with sincere appreciation for my desire to be good and do good and fulfill my potential, which has led me to a place of genuine self-acceptance. This is how the sacred text “A Course in Miracles” defines a miracle.
It’s freeing to realize that perfection is an impossible standard and I really get at the core of my being now that life continually ebbs and flows with the duality of light & darkness, joy & pain, intuition & logic, and I have come to appreciate it all, and most importantly, roll with it. This place of total surrender, particularly for those of us who need to control things so tightly, is the key to absolute peace and freedom.
Being a parent of a 12 year old boy and 9 year old girl and wanting so desperately for them and all kids to understand their inherent value and the power of their thoughts, words, and actions, both positive, and negative, I can see as clear as day now that I had to truly integrate these concepts and manifest them in my own experience before I could authentically share them with others.
The inspiration for our Kindness Matters movement for kids, tweens, and teens was born in 2012, and this larger mission of The Kindness Solution to help parents and hard-driving, Type A, recovering perfectionists experiencing, or headed towards, burnout and disillusionment has been been in gestation simultaneously (God forbid you fall into both categories!) The Kindness Solution message couldn’t be birthed, however, until I could live these principles and integrate them into every area of my life. There is no doubt that this is, and always will be, a work in progress!
I realize now that this message may resonate for many more than those who fall into these categories mentioned above, since we are all connected. We truly are One and share many of the same desires and universal truths. This Manifesto was originally meant for young people in hopes that they don’t have to wait until their 40’s to undo a lifetime of cultural conditioning and BS accepted “norms”, but clearly we adults need these reminders as well. I share them here because these are the things I have learned, but sometimes forget, and then bring myself back to remembering again, and would venture to guess that are a few people experience this same amnesia!
We can all start with asking ourselves better quality, more empowering questions, beginning with, “What’s the truth?”
The Kindness Solution Manifesto was the answer to that question and the message I wish to share with my kids and all beings of every age so that we can fully experience self-love, acceptance, courage, consciousness, humaneness, compassion, gratitude, health, authenticity, and self-expression and experience life as the amazing adventure that it is. Life is not meant to be an uphill battle! We are here to experience great love, joy, and fun!
My greatest wish is for every person to be who they are and be stewards of one another’s spirits, so no one, not one person, ever feels such hopelessness and desperation that they feel like suicide is a viable option. Senseless and unnecessary shaming, cruelty, and bullying, both toward ourselves and others, can be eradicated. One thought at a time. One connection at a time. One outreach at a time. It’s a choice to live consciously and be the leaders of our own lives through the vehicle of kindness so we can alleviate our own mental, emotional, and physical suffering and that of others, especially those who are already marginalized or struggling.
At the very least, let’s individually and collectively choose to do no harm or cause or contribute to the suffering of any living being. True self-actualization can occur when we look at every aspect of our lives through the lens of kindness.
The Kindness Solution Manifesto
You are loved.
You are awesome the way you are.
You are good at the core and so is everyone else.
Whenever someone is unkind, have compassion for them. They are struggling in some way.
If you are being unkind, ask yourself, “Is there a more positive way to feel good about myself?”
You are here to shine. You don’t need to fit in. Have the courage to stand up and stand out.
Be the light for others, especially for people who need it the most.
Actively look to uplift, encourage, and inspire everyone you come into contact with.
At the very least, never hurt and harm others with your words and actions. What you say and do matters and has lasting consequences.
Make yourself proud.
Be grateful moment-to-moment.
Know at your core that you are an amazingly powerful being.
You can Be, Do, and Have what you choose with focused intention.
You are unique. There is only one you and that’s pretty spectacular.
Appreciate and celebrate each others differences.
It’s safe to tell the truth. It’s safe to tell your truth.
Pay attention to when you feel happiest. Do more of whatever that is.
Your body is an amazing gift ~ give it the nourishment, movement, & rest it needs to thrive.
Care more about your own approval than what others think about you. Trust yourself.
Failing and making mistakes are the best way to learn. Perfection is an impossible standard.
All that you need is within you.
Be a Force for Good.
Believe in Miracles.
Love Always Wins.