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What I Want You to Know If You Struggle to Be Kind Because You’re Unhappy

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I see you.

I see you trying your best to be the kindest person you can be, whilst struggling to spare an ounce of compassion for yourself.

I understand how frustrating it is to be struggling yourself, and yet still have high expectations for yourself to be caring and thoughtful toward others. When it feels like you’ve failed to help others or failed to be as good a friend as you would expect yourself to be, it can be crushing, especially when it feels like you’re doing your best to be a good person.

The guilt of not being as kind as I would expect myself to be — whether it’s not helping a friend with schoolwork, or even just not having the mental energy to reply to a message – can be excruciating. It feels like I’m failing, and I find it difficult to sit with the guilt of this. I find it difficult to find the motivation to raise a smile for others on those days I’m struggling, when I can barely raise a smile for myself.

I understand.

But I’ve also understood something new recently: you can be a kind person and still have days when you don’t have much kindness reserved for other people. There can be times when you need your compassion to go towards yourself.

It is OK to lower your expectations of your own kindness when you are unhappy or in pain. I’m not saying to not be the kindest you can be – I’m saying it’s important to notice when the kindest you can be is less than usual and to forgive yourself for this.

You can be a kind person and have days when you struggle to be kind. And on those days, please don’t feel guilty — you’re doing the best you can, and being the kindest you can be, despite all the obstacles in your way. When you’re being kind to others, please don’t forget to spare some kindness for yourself.

Photo by Roksolana Zasiadko on Unsplash

Originally published: March 6, 2019
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