when i was 12 or 13 i had a little book of quotes. i don't remember most of the things that were in the little book but there is one line i don't think i'll ever forget. it said "speak only well of others and you never need whisper."
i've thought about that little line a lot over the years because i thought it was so beautiful and so wise. as i've gotten older i've realized how important that concept is not only because it effects our relationship with those around us but also because how we talk about others says loads about ourselves.
at the beginning of the year i set a goal to only say kind things about others. then i went a step further and said i would only think kind things. because what good is it to be verbally kind but internally vicious? I've realized this year that my goal is pretty tough. this month i've been trying to recommit to all the goals i set back in january and its hard all over again - not because i'm mean or conniving or malicious - but because i'm human i'm not always kind. What i've learned, though, is a simple lesson and it is that when we train our minds to think kind things about others we tend to also think more kindly of ourselves. i think when we are critical of others we naturally become more critical of ourselves. so when we're kind to others we're kinder to ourselves too.
this is important - being kind to ourselves - because i think we sometimes (very wrongly) believe that thinking critically of ourselves is the same as being humble. its not. in fact, i think when we criticize ourselves and beat ourselves down, we're the farthest thing from being humble because we are being selfish. a lot of times we think being selfish means only doing things to help ourselves but it can also mean only thinking things about ourselves. so when we're nitpicking and down-putting and telling ourselves we're not good enough we're actually just being selfish, because we're just putting all our energy into thinking about ourselves.
so the point of this is all is that when we think kindly about ourselves it increases our ability to be kind to others - and to be humble, and to serve, and to get outside of ourselves and do things that matter.