9 Self-Love Reminders for My Identity on This World Kindness Day 2020
I’d never even heard of World Kindness Day (November 13) until this year. I questioned what it meant to be kind to someone else. How am I kind to someone who is not kind to me? What does it mean and look like to be kind to myself? These questions challenged me. When I thought about the act of kindness, I first thought of my experiences being picked as someone else’s “good deed” and being treated as someone else’s “inspiration porn” and charity project because of being an autistic, biracial, black trans man with multiple disabilities. Receiving kindness became hard for me to let in because I had become so accustomed to navigating stigma, stereotypes and discrimination in everyday life connected to different parts of my identity. Showing kindness to myself became more challenging as I took on some of those negative messages in how I viewed and talked to myself. These messages took a toll on my mental and emotional health as well as my social wellbeing.
In 2019, I decided I wanted to make changes in the relationship I had with myself. One of the changes I wanted to make was to dismantle the negative messages and reclaim them positively by supporting a shift in thinking. I wanted to be able to be in my skin and believe that:
1. I wasn’t made wrong.
2. I don’t need to fix any part of who I am to make others more comfortable.
3. I am empowered by my own abilities to believe in my own capabilities, and these abilities are not decreased because of my autism or other disabilities, even if these abilities look different.
4. I am equal, loved, unique, purposed and worthy just because I am me.
This self-care journey, rediscovering my self-worth and self-image, has been full of ups, downs, twists and turns full of healing and discovery.
Embarking on that journey, I never imagined what I would discover. I don’t think I had high hope in the possibility of evolving the relationship I had with myself. Then came the first big moment — the moment the hateful speech from voices of my past filled my head, and I was about to say it out loud as usual. But, instead of spewing out the everyday hateful speech to myself, I talked in a kind, understanding manner. I was stopped in my tracks as it didn’t feel natural talking to myself that way. Then it sunk in, and excitement filled the air of my kitchen. I did it. I was kind to myself. It felt like a huge accomplishment full of so much hope of what could possibly come as I continue to embark on this journey.
As I continue moving forward on this evolving journey, I never thought I would have reached recovery after 20 years of self-harm. I never thought my own worth and kindness would empower me. Discovering Inspire Kindness online spoke the power of kindness I was experiencing in my life. An experience of kindness at the core of reclaiming my identity as an autistic, biracial, black trans man with multiple disabilities. An experience I am excited to celebrate the transformative power of kindness has on World Kindness Day during a year filled with so much pain and grief. A day Inspire Kindness describes as: “a global day that promotes the importance of being kind to each other, to yourself, and to the world. This day, celebrated on November 13 of each year, aims to help everyone understand that compassion for others binds us all together. This understanding has the power to bridge the gap between nations.”
So, on this World Kindness Day 2020, I am reclaiming these nine things:
1. I have the ultimate power to be kind to myself and others.
2. The act of kindness is transformative and healing.
3. I am reminded of and celebrate all the different ways I can be kind to myself and its impact on me.
4. Never underestimate the importance of a simple kind act or word.
5. I deserved to be fully included and treated as equal with kindness, understanding and empathy in childhood and my young adult years.
6. My autistic traits and other disability traits are a part of my superpowers.
7. All the intersecting parts of my identity make up the exceptional individual I am, and I am loved, unique, purposed, worthy, empowered and capable.
8. Kindness can be every day.
9. Being kind in the challenging moments and on the hard days makes a difference no matter how big or small.
Photo by Mubarak Show on Unsplash