“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I heard this a lot growing up. And as much as I agree with this age-old advice, I would like to tweak it. “If you can’t say something nice, try.” With few exceptions, there is always an opportunity to show kindness or to be nice.
Say Something Nice Day was started in 2006 with the idea of putting a spotlight on the mental and emotional damage that occurs because of bullying. We as a people have had many discussions with each other, with our families, and in our communities about the serious issue of bullying. Books have been written, movies have been made and all agree that bullying affects everyone involved: the bully, the person being bullied, and the people who see it being done. In all situations, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem increase.
But, what about when the Bully is us. And the person we are bullying is also us. When we say things to ourselves that are demeaning and unkind- we are both the bully and the victim. Most often the people who see us being bullied are our children. When we call ourselves stupid, not good enough, and other derogatory remarks and names, our children see these, and instead of them assuring us that we are not, they internalize it and believe they are the same.
Be Kind to Yourself. When we are kind to ourselves, we accept what we can do and accept grace for what we cannot. Have faith in the Savior’s grace, which he gives freely. “God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect.” There is only perfection through our Savior. We can trust in His atonement and in His ability to perfect us.
My grandson, Justin, served a mission in New York and wrote in one of his letters, “Healing does not come literally after we do all we can do, it comes while we do all we can do. We come to Christ in our weakness, and He carries us as we stumble on the path to perfection, until we don’t stumble anymore.” Nowhere does it say we must obtain perfection on our own, nor does God’s plan for us on Earth require zero mistakes. Why should we put pressure on ourselves in ways that not even God requires? In the end, it will not be our mistakes that define us, but the lessons we learned along the way that will be reflected and become part of our self-portrait.
I have a good friend who, in her efforts to be kinder to herself said,
“I have been making myself pause and smile at myself. It actually feels really good, you know, after the first few awkward times.” She pointed out that after a while, it was like the woman in the mirror was smiling back, encouraging her and telling her she was doing ok.
When kindness starts with you, it will magnify your mothering and reduce the harsh judgments we make of others and ourselves. When applied, kindness can be a healing balm. Kindness can change the course of relationships with members of your family and with yourself. Kindness can calm angry waters, bring peace, assurance, and confidence. When we are kind to ourselves, we can better tap into that strength and face down a bad day.