cats_and_kindness

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~The Dalai Lama

Kindness is defined as “the quality of being friendly, generous and compassionate.” It’s a quality that I look for in almost every person I form any kind of relationship with – it matters that much to me. Kindness to cats, and all animals, is the most important to me, but kindness to other human beings is a close second. One of my pet peeves: people who are unkind to waiters or other service personnel.

Research suggests that positive emotions help contribute to better physical and emotional health. And kindness shouldn’t just extend to others, it should also be directed at yourself. While common wisdom may suggest that being kind to yourself is selfish and weak, the opposite is true. When you are kind to yourself, you are taking better care of yourself. And if you don’t take care of yourself, you have nothing left to give to others.

Here are some ways to be kind to yourself:

Take care of the basics

Eating whole and nutritious foods, drinking enough water, exercising, and getting enough sleep are all ways of being kind to yourself that will have a positive impact on everything else in your life.

Monitor your thought patterns

Albert Einstein once said that “the most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” If you constantly expect the worst to happen and focus on negative thoughts, you will get stuck in a pattern of negative actions and emotions. Reframe your thoughts and retrain your brain. Thinking it won’t make it so, but it will put you in a better frame of mind and motivate you to make positive changes.

Lower your expectations

This one is for the perfectionists out there, and I’m including myself in that category. I’m not saying that you should settle for less, but unrealistic expectations, especially when you’re dealing with emotionally charged or stressful situations, can make you feel completely out of control. Rather than expecting every day to be the best and happiest day of your life, lowering the bar just a little will allow you to enjoy each small moment.

Focus on solutions

If you’ve had a rough day, or you’re facing a challenging problem, try to focus on solutions rather than on rehashing the issue. Don’t beat yourself up over a mistake you may  have made – this only erodes your self-esteem. Searching for solutions allows you to take your power back.

Give yourself the gift of time

Spend some time every day doing something that will uplift you. Whether it’s 10 minutes of meditation, a half hour walk in the park, or an hour of reading a book, will make a big difference in how you feel about your day. Of course, the easiest and quickest way to uplift you is to spend time with your cats!

Cats are naturally gifted at being kind to themselves. From finding the purrfect sun puddle to asking for affection when they want it, they know how to take care of their needs without apology. Perhaps we’d be wise to look to them for some guidance.

What one thing will you do today to be kind to yourself?

15 Comments on Conscious Cat Sunday: Be Kind to Yourself

  1. Brilliant….strait to the point and just the confirmation I need.
    Thank you so much Ingrid…now be kind to those two girls and give them head noogies for me♥

  2. You know, this posting has really made me think. I used to believe I was being “kind” to myself. But in the past year since adopting one and then another kitty, I’ve really noticed a difference. The time I spend with them has made a huge difference in my anxiety level and general health. I feel better than I have for years. As I type this, I’m sitting with my two “kids” in my office and enjoying a beautiful spring day as they watch the birds out my window.

  3. This is wonderful advice, Ingrid. It’s advice I’d give to my clients when I was practicing social work. 🙂

    I, too, look for kindness in everyone in my life. It is most important for me to know that those in my life can be kind to cats, other animals, and to other people. We all need and deserve kindness from one another. I won’t even date a man who doesn’t like cats; it’s *that* important to me! 🙂

    Today, I’ll take some extra time to enjoy my fur babies and continue to read “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.”

  4. I couldn’t agree more. As people we do have a tendency to forget to be kind to ourselves, but it is so integral to finding inner peace and happiness. And kindness is contagious – by extending kindness to animals and others it only makes the world a better, more compassionate place to be.

  5. Being with my cats is the most pawsome, relaxing time of my life. . . I thoroughly enjoy being in their company as much as possible. I am usually only away from them when I have to go to work or the store. . . and that is all I need to feel complete — along with my son. . . <3

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