early this morning i wrote down the words that came to mind when i thought about the term loving-kindness as it relates to your relationship with yourself and your significant other…and everyone in your life, really:
acceptance | encouragement | compassion | deep love | patience | understanding | support
kindness is love exemplified… every day in every situation, positive or challenging. the gottmans put it perfectly in saying “kindness makes each partner feel cared for, understood, and validated—feel loved…[therefore] building a culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully.”
they go on to explain that there is a physiological impact of thinking of your relationship in this way as “[couples practicing loving-kindness are] calm and connected together, which translates into warm and affectionate behavior… they create a climate of trust and intimacy that makes both more emotionally and thus physically comfortable.” it is, to me, the difference between feeling completely comfortable with your partner versus holding back…allowing yourself to speak freely about your worries and dreams without any thought that they might be dismissed.
it’s something that doesn’t just come. it is learned plain and simple, and strengthened by exercising it at every opportunity.
i’m writing this down because i have felt this so strongly lately…the silver lining, i suppose, to going through a challenging time. the feeling that you are genuinely and wholeheartedly loved and understood is like no other; it begins by easing nerves surrounding change or fear of disappointment, but it’s reach is much more powerful than even that. loving-kindness encourages me to not only reciprocate this kind of love, but make an effort to be kinder to myself, too.
we know that the first step to loving another truly and fully is loving yourself. the same thing goes for finding the good in and practicing kindness towards yourself. loving-kindness meditation is something that i think we all can incorporate in our lives. almost like dedicating a yoga practice to someone who needs your positive energy, this is simply taking the time to wish yourself and others well.
“May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.”
“May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.”
because kindness is where it begins and ends…the integral component of happiness. if we all listen a bit more, judge a bit less and leave ourselves open to being loved by ourselves and others, imagine what can happen.