Starting Fresh 15: Kindness

Kindness is powerful.

When you approach any situation with kindness, you bring with it intuition, openness and curiosity. Your efforts are fueled by compassion. There are great opportunities and solutions that can come from kindness.

Kindness is the opposite to chiding or bullying yourself or another person through an activity. The rough and forceful approach says that there's something wrong with you, you need to feel badly about this, and you should fix it!

This comes up a lot during a clutter bust. People will say, "Why did I let it get this bad?" and "What's wrong with me?" and "I'll never get this done. I give up!" The process becomes fueled by meanness. Great damage is done.

Kindness during a clutter bust brings renewal. It's the feeling that you matter. It's the sense that by finding and removing things that don't suit you anymore, you'll feel better. It's wanting to remove the clutter, so it's easier to find and enjoy the things you love in your life now. It's realizing that you are worth the effort.

From kindness comes self-encouragement, the only effective source of inspiration. Kindness also means taking breaks when you need to, and working at a pace that supports you mentally, physically and spiritually.

When clutter busting with kindness, you become aware that you love and care for yourself with each thing you come upon. "Do I love and use this, or can I let it go?" You are considering your feelings with each item. Each time you question something, it's a positive affirmation that you care about yourself.

This self-caring extends to other areas of your life. You begin to sense when harshness or meanness has become part of your thinking or actions. It feels caustic on you and you don't enjoy the feeling. There's a bitterness. So you begin to ease off. You ask, "How can I bring kindness into this situation?" It can also help to ask, "What do I need?" We are simple creatures. Sometimes we just need something basic like a hug, a quiet moment, a snack or a nap.

Sometimes we just need to be heard, even if only by ourselves. By asking ourselves what we need, we get to listen to our answers and feel taken care of. This way, we can reach a place of contentment and joy that no product can give us. We feel genuinely loved.

Lastly, a habit of kindness feels good not only when we're kind to ourselves, but when we're kind to others. I was talking with my girlfriend about what she'd learned about kindness in her life. She said, "It gives me so much pleasure to be kind to you. And I'm not even the one who is being kinded to!"

I wish for you, for all of us, to start fresh by bringing kindness into our lives in 2013 and beyond!