I recently put together this photo collage for my kindness journal. Each photo represents something I’ve been thinking about in regards to kindness this month.
Let me show you how the journal is coming together:
This month I added this blue page with a few quotes on it, but it’s mostly empty space. It’s like a little bit of breather room in between things.
Then on the next pages are the photo collage and the writing.
Here’s what it says:
Reflections on Kindness
Tenderness and Kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution. –Kahlil Gibrar
This quote speaks to the reason why I wanted to spend time reflecting on kindness. I read that quote two ways. I read it as it’s written: kindness is proof of strength. But I also have been thinking about it transversely: strength is proof of kindness. It reminds me that kindness is hard work and gentle and just.
For me this month, that has meant persistence and resolution. Just keeping up with the phone calls. Calling the Center of Special Education to coordinate Andrew’s upcoming IEP meeting…and then making all the phone calls that stem from that. Calling the Center for Preschool Special Education arranging Isaac’s upcoming IEP meeting and following through with the work from that. Pulling together homeschooling lessons, kid-based social engagements and getting Andrew to therapy on time. This month kindness feels like cyclical busy-work…but in a way that feels gratifying.
In the photo collage on the next page, I added photos of myself, Andrew and Isaac to reflect that branch of kindness.
Be kind- for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. –Plato
In my daily comings and goings I can get into a rut of thinking that no one has it as hard as me. And that shows up in several ways.
I walk briskly down the sidewalk wanting people to look up and be aware and let me by! Don’t they know how hard things are for me?? The self-pity leads to a feeling of entitlement that is ugly and makes me feel angry and bitter. Feeling like I have it the worst of anybody is just the beginning of a downward spiral. Reminding myself that other people are fighting their own battles has been crucial to pull myself out of that unkind place.
I haven’t been the best friend lately. Feeling like I’ve got it hard has made me a little too selfish. I’ve been terrible about returning phone calls and emails and checking in with my friends and family. This month was Valentine’s Day. And I really wanted to take some time to send out Valentines to people I love. And so I did. But I had to carve out the time to do that. I had to let some things drop to make time for it.
The photos of the clock, the snowy tree and the Valentines are in the college to remind me to make time, to change things up, to prioritize kindness. My kids shouldn’t be the only ones I am working on being kinder to. Sometimes I need to put my family on hold to care for the other very important people in my life.
Also this month I’ve been noticing that thinking and writing about kindness is a good and helpful habit. I put the photo of the keyboard to represent that.
I want to be kinder with my money. And I’m not quite sure what exactly I mean by that, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about.
And the flowers? They were from Andrew. Kindness received. A reminder that both ends of kindness are downright lovely.
Are you working on a journal for a word/goal for the year? How is it coming?