being kind even when it is the hardest thing

Guest Post by Alexis Yael for the Kind Kindred series.

being kind even when it is the hardest thing

on the day when the world conspired to wake you early
or when you went to sleep too late and overslept
or nothing is ready and things need to happen now
or no one can figure out how to drive on the interstate.

slow down. breathe.
practice kindness.

the world is still there. you are still here. here we are.
everywhere you can look, there is something beautiful.

be gentle with yourself first. remind yourself to smile.
roll your neck from side to side and stretch.
drink something hot if you’re cold or cold if you’re hot.
eat something nourishing and delicious.
listen to your favorite music, or read something inspiring.

(i have a “gray day” playlist on spotify just for these days
and an “awesome quotes” board on pinterest.)

if you’re thinking mean thoughts, gently go back to love.
smile at yourself in a mirror as you wash your hands.
treat yourself as a small, beloved child:
“this moment is so hard, my love. just breathe.”
walk yourself gently through the steps you have to take.

even when the steps are: do not hit this person.
do not scream. do not throw this book at the neighbor
who is mowing the lawn at five on a saturday morning.

if you are having to interact with small children
or people who seem belligerent or hateful
start over as many times as you need to
until your words and deeds come out kindly.
“please put on your shirt and your pants.”
“please let’s stop screaming.” “i’m sorry,
lets try that again without me pulling you around
the store because i am in a bad mood and hungry.”

if you say something harsh, come back to kindness
and reframe the words, even if you only find them
after the altercation. remind yourself you can’t see
anyone else’s struggle: the woman who cut you off
in traffic may have been told that morning
that the lump in her breast was in fact, stage three.

if you can, hold your loved ones closer. snuggle in.
hold yourself. bring your hands to your chest
and feel the rise and fall of your breathing.
always go back to your breath.

this is where you start.
this is where you will end.

you are only here while you breathe.

all along the way, walk the path of kindness

even when (especially when)
it seems everything in the world
conspires against kindness.

Alexis Yael is a writer/ photographer living in northern New Jersey with her soul mate and their awesome, nerd to the second power (autistic) kid. She believes everything is beautiful, even in the darkest hour and that kindness is always possible. Depression is her kryptonite and her superpower is empathy and yes, indeed, those two things are intertwined completely. She is available for hire as a lifestyle photographer and copy editor.

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