Why Fierce Kindness?

These last 2 weeks I’ve been struggling with what to write for you – not from a shortage of ideas – but because I want to write things that are meaningful and that make a difference.

Yes, I love personal growth tips, tools, techniques.

And these are important for making a difference in the world. Because happier, contented people are kinder: it’s really hard to be kind to ourselves and others when we’re feeling stressed, harassed and overwhelmed.

But I want Fierce Kindness to go beyond helping people be happier and kinder to themselves and others…

How crises bring us into focus

Wildfire Smoke Image

Wildfire Smoke – view from our bedroom window around 8am on 14 Sept

This week, here on the west coast of North America (both Canada and the USA), not only have we been dealing with COVID, but we’ve been stuck inside for a week because of smoke from all the wildfires. And of course many people have been evacuated and lost their homes. Some have lost their lives.

Of course there are terrible – and worse things – going on all over the world as I write this. And I found myself feeling quite upset, frustrated, helpless.

When we’re comfortable (or don’t want to be uncomfortable), it’s easy to look away, “think positive” and get on with our own lives.

And this makes me think of the quote:

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke

Just some of the unpleasant things going on in our world at the moment:

  • The environmental/climate crisis. And the denial of it.
  • Despots, dictators, government scandals and disappointment in many of our politicians.
  • The failure of Capitalism – including an increasing disparity between the rich and the poor, and that most of the worlds wealth lies with just a few people. What does one person need tens of billions of dollars for? Isn’t one billion enough?
  • The increasing worship of sports and entertainment stars, and a lack of media focus on worthy role models at the expense of cheap entertainment.
  • Increasing nationalism and divisive “them and us” rhetoric.
  • Ongoing racism, sexism and misogyny and a lack of social justice.

And that’s before we get into natural disasters like disease, famine, COVID, landslides, hurricanes, floods, droughts etc.

And that’s just the first few things that spring to mind…

The impact of COVID

COVID has shone a light on many issues like financial disparity – the ease with which many “white collar” workers can switch to working from home, while many “blue collar” people lose their jobs and must rely on the government for financial aid. We see how the elderly and migrant workers – who have less of a voice – have been mistreated.

And we see the consequences of unchecked citizen “journalism” in conspiracy theories, along with the vast amounts of conflicting information out there about COVID. We just have no idea who and what to trust any more…

I said brief – so I’m going to stop there. It’s easy to get upset by it all (I know I had a couple of days of feeling a bit down last week).

So, where am I going with all of this? Why Fierce Kindness?

Pancho Ramos Stierle Rebel Quote with Tiger (Fierce Kindness)Well, Fierce Kindness is what I had to learn to manage my inner critic that used to beat me up verbally and caused me pretty severe anxiety for a number of years.

But I have also realised that Fierce Kindness is needed to make the world a better place. We need Fierce Kindness to stand up to bullies, do the right thing (especially when others do not), set boundaries and make a difference.

And so as I journalled this morning, I came to my reason for creating Fierce Kindness:

  • I want to do my part to make the world a better place.
  • And I believe Fierce Kindness can truly and deeply stand for something in the world.

Kindness is not just a universal form of love. It’s also a LENS through which to see – and be – in the world.

Fierce Kindness takes kindness one step further, with a courageous unflinching look at what truly is, and then taking action to make a difference – from a place of love.

This means that Fierce Kindness is for you if you want:

  • A different, kinder world
  • To contribute and make a difference
  • To find your passion and inner fire for life again
  • And finally to create a bigger, bolder and meaning-filled life

Make a Difference, but start small

So, I think it’s important to really look – and see – what’s wrong in the world. And THEN to think, “What can I do about it?

But a better question might be: “Where can I do SOMEthing – however small?”

Because most of us are challenged by a lack of time and energy. We all have our own struggles, personal issues and life challenges to overcome as well as goals to achieve.

And when we start small – with something we’re passionate about – inevitably it grows and blossoms. The important thing is to get started…

So we must start with ourselves…

Why it’s so important to start within

If everyone was happier, how would decisions be made differently? How would we treat each other differently? And what would it be like going about our days and interacting with happier people everywhere?

Going further, what would the people who make important decisions in organizations and our government choose to do differently? What if the office bully was happier? The person dealing with your complaint? The driver behind you at the traffic light?

How about if you felt 10, 20, 30 or even 50% happier? How would your experience of life be different?

Now, imagine the influence on the world if everyone was 20, 30 or 50% happier?

Happy, contented people create a ripple effect

Where you come in

But many of us don’t know ourselves that deeply. Do you know your unique strengths, talents and skills? What about your values, passions, beliefs and desires? Do you know where you get in your own way when it comes to your goals and dreams?

What would it be like to connect to your deepest self, your soul, your untamed self?

Because once we’re deeply connected to our (true) selves, we can’t help but make the world a better place. As we start with ourselves and discover what we have to offer, we make our lives better. And as we become happier and more contented, we have more energy to think about helping others.

You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful. Marie Curie

I have identified 4 Threads of Fierce Kindness

Now, these are just “rough” at the moment, but here goes:

  1. CONNECT 1) to your untamed self, 2) to others and 3) to something bigger than you. Who and what matters most to you? What excites and inspires you? What do you dream of? Get fired up about your life – and you!
  2. CREATE a meaning-filled life. This is the action piece – to take steps to boldly create a life you love, filled with meaning. And the more you get to know yourself, the easier this gets. This is so you’re operating from a place of strength.
  3. CHOOSE kindness – always. While kindness is a powerful way of being, of thinking and acting in the world, Fierce Kindness takes kindness to the next level adding determination, discernment and courage to the mix – helping us both see the truth and do what is right (not just what is easy). This raises the level of consciousness, energy and love on the planet.
  4. CONTRIBUTE to a better world. You have the power to make a difference – however small. What will you do?

These threads are not linear, each one overlaps with the other. And each thread – on its own – creates a positive ripple in the world.

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and community. Martin Luther King, Jr. *

Here are 10 ideas for starting small and making a difference

  1. Spend an hour online researching a cause that interests you. Learn about the issues, and who is doing something about it.
  2. Have fun with Random Acts of Kindness (like paying for someone’s parking or coffee, sending a friend a note appreciating them, giving flowers)
  3. Spend a day responding with kindness to everyone you meet. (Remember that Fierce Kindness is also an option if someone is crossing a boundary – where you are firm, but kind).
  4. Go vegetarian or vegan for a day – or week.
  5. Make a small, but regular donation to a cause that appeals to you.
  6. Volunteer either regularly – or just for a one-off event.
  7. Stop and see/talk to a homeless person on the street. Ask them how they’re doing today.
  8. Make a donation to your local food bank.
  9. Start a book club that reads non-fiction books and discusses them.
  10. Smile and thank people you encounter who are putting themselves at risk during COVID (obviously healthcare workers, but also people you run into every day like grocery clerks, delivery drivers).

Modern life is not working for us…

We’re all just trying to survive. But modern life is overwhelming us. We’re barraged with information, caught up comparing ourselves to others – and striving for more. All too often we’re swayed into thinking we need to look or be a certain way, or have or do certain things to be happy.

Despite all my ranting about the state of the world (much of it caused by humans) I still believe in:

  • The innate human CAPACITY for goodness, courage and kindness.

But I think it’s getting lost under a sea of busyness, distraction, tiredness, unhappiness, rushing and overwhelm.

I also believe in:

  • The power of individuals and community
  • Social justice and social responsibility
  • Our planet
  • Kindness and courage
And l believe in you

So, as we grow together:

I hope you can be patient with me as we grow Fierce Kindness.

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years. Bill Gates

Going forwards I promise more fun – and thought-provoking – articles, tips, tools and techniques to help you have a deep connection with 1) Yourself, 2) Others and 3) Something bigger than yourself – giving back to the world.

So, tell me what you think!

I would love for you to comment with your thoughts in response to this article. Does this sound like you? What resonated with you? How will you make a difference?

You are the one you have been waiting for!

* My apologies to MLK – I changed the word brotherhood to community (to include all us incredible “sisters” and other genders out there).

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