The kindness of strangers is powerful. Unexpected generosity, a warm smile, a random gesture, words of encouragement. Kindness from someone you don’t know can transform your day. The pure surprise of it can be magical.
What if you treated yourself like a stranger?
This is not what I planned to publish today. I posted on Instagram earlier this week about a prolific writing session. An out-of-the-blue all-nighter when words seemed to flow effortlessly from soul to screen. I was euphoric, and quite proud of my writing. I was in a good mood.
Things changed. Some unexpected developments left me discombobulated, and my good mood gave way to irritation. Later, when I made the mistake of rereading my writing from the previous day, that irritation translated to harsh self-criticism of what I’d written. Then I compounded my mistake by also going back through my planned blog posts I’d written and scheduled much earlier. My grumpy voice told me they were no longer good enough, either. So I wasn’t going to publish any post today — Fun Friday — because I just wasn’t feeling it. I let the voice in my head, amplified by irritation, sabotage my own happy mood and trash work I’d been proud of. Have you ever done that? What the f*ck is up with that?
Sticking to my daily gratitude practice, I was able to get my head back on straight and posted this about my gratitude for the kindness of strangers. I will never forget the magical kindness of strangers around the world who helped, encouraged, and cheered me throughout my 70-day RTW trip as a first-time, midlife, solo traveler. Here at home, the kindness of strangers has made a world of difference for me, too.
I wasn’t going to post anything here today, but then I got to thinking about how kind strangers can be to us, while we can be so unkind to ourselves. I would never intentionally trash someone’s work, or crush their confidence with withering criticism. I always try to be that kind stranger who offers a smile and positive words (though I have been known to put my big foot in my bigger mouth). I would never say to a stranger what I’ve said to myself. Why are strangers kinder to me than I am to myself? Makes no sense, does it?
“F*ck that noise,” as my wise grown son says. (Yes, I raised a child who now swears. Who knew?) From now on I’m going to be my own stranger and treat myself with unexpected kindness. There’s power — and magic — in that.
I’m going to start my new stranger identity by giving myself a pat on the back, and sending virtual hugs to these former strangers who have helped amplify my positive voice on other platforms. So happy to have been a guest on Your Bold Voice; Nishi Live in India; Reinvention Rebels; and Gutsy Travel Talk. Looking forward to appearing on Calm the Chaos and Jacquie Bird Spiritual Wellness later this summer, and so excited to have been invited by Solo Travel Insider to be part of its speaker series this fall.
Can you be as kind to yourself as you would be to a stranger? Try it. Happy Friday, kind strangers and friends. ❤
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