Kindness isn't Always a Virtue + how to make the switch from being kind to being genuine

When I was young, my idol was Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. She was beautiful, smart, positive, and most of all kind. I admired her ability to be loving and joyful in all situations. Being positive felt natural for the most part. I carried a journal with me for an entire year called, “The List of Things I Love.” I still have it too, besides for the page dedicated to a high school boyfriend… oh geeze.

Kindness was my ultimate goal. Since childhood I've made gratitude lists.  I wrote people kind cards and encouraging letters weekly. I won an award for being the most positive person in high school. SUCCESS!!  I was acting like the person I genuinely wanted to be. But it wasn’t the whole truth.

My kindness was a way for me to uplift people, but it was also a mask I hid behind. More than wanting to BE kind, I wanted to be SEEN as kind. I wanted to please people. I wanted them to like me.  In my desperation to be liked, I hid my real feelings. I sucked up and flattered everyone. It’s funny how disingenuous I was, considering positivity is a natural strength of mine. The pure heart of positivity I had naturally was tainted by my inability to be real with myself.  

Learning to be okay with my frustrations, to experience my anger, to stop letting people off the hook- it was hard.  I had to learn what forgiveness really meant, and what kindness really meant. I had to learn how to be genuine, and to admit that I could never be perfect. (Darn.)

Now I realize that, more than kindness, genuineness is the true virtue.

Here are 4 ways to make the switch from kindness to genuineness today:

  1. Stop flattering everyone and give more compliments. Speak up for the good you see, as long as you’re sincere. Make your words have weight. Many believe that when God spoke, the universe was created. I want to have weight in the things I say. Let them be sincere.

  2. Stop saying, “It’s okay!” when it’s so clearly not. Tell people the truth.

  3. Say no when you want to say no.  Your yes will hold more weight this way. You will be more respected. You will be genuinely agreeing in spirit and in action, and it will feel a whole lot better than a half-hearted yes.

  4. Everyone is not meant to like you. Some people just don’t click. Don’t dwell on it, just go and find your people. (They exist, I promise!!)

  5. Check your motive. Ask yourself why you are doing something. Are you longing to be seen? Are you needing affirmation? Are you seeking approval? Is this action coming from love or fear?

Genuine kindness is a virtue. It’s kindness willing to go unseen. It’s from the place of love, not fear. If your kindness is a mask, you will feel fake, fearful, and isolated. The real you is better. (Even if she pisses a few people off and says no.)

Have an amazing week! Thanks for sharing a part of yours with me. If you enjoyed this article, please share with your friends and tag me so I can see! I love it when I get to connect with you on social media. xx, Madison.

WANTING MORE AUTHENTIC ENCOURAGEMENT?

4 Ways to choose your friends for personal health

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4 WAYS TO CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS FOR PERSONAL HEALTH

No one has ever accused me of not being able to make friends.  Although that innate ability to approach people is a gift, through my teen years I somehow still struggled to create meaningful friendships.  I was plagued with a TON of insecurities, and because I did not know I was worthy of healthy friendships (nor was I modeled one), my young friendships struggled.

 Not all of these friendships looked bad from the outside, although some did. From gossip-queens to negative-nancy’s to judgmental-judy’s.  I found myself unfulfilled in these friendships and feeling inadequate as a friend.

The LAST thing a friendship should do is make you feel inadequate.

Through personal growth, counseling, losing a few friendships, creating boundaries with others, I realized that I was a bad picker. I was bad at picking good friends. My insecurities had gotten the best of me not only IN my friendships but also in CHOOSING them. I chose these friends. I chose to hang out with them. I chose to gossip. I was choosing my mediocre life that I hated. And why?

Because we choose in life what we feel worthy of.

Do you feel worthy of beautiful, supportive friends?

Are YOU a trusting friend?

Are you afraid there is no one else out there if you distance yourself from current relationships?    

These are hard questions to answer but worth looking at. When I took time to really answer them, I learned 4 things about friendship that changed my life. 1. I needed to know who my safe people were. 2. I needed to assess my current friendships. 3. I needed to step up into my power. 4. I had to let go of being friends with EVERYONE. I broke down those four lessons into practical, useful tools. Take a look:

1. Know your safe people: 

Some people call this an inner circle, others call this your group of safe people. A safe person is someone who you feel comfortable knowing the real you and loving you just the same, if not more. Honesty, love, support, good hearted feedback, and reality checks roll off their tongue with grace.  These are the spouses, boyfriends, best friends, and moms.

There is only a few spaces in your life for people like this.

As soon as I realized this, my perspective shifted. It is the fundamental piece of creating healthy relationships.

2. Assess your current friendships:

Are they safe? Are they toxic? Are they a good friend, but not exactly safe?

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This step was really hard for me. I don’t like putting people on a scale. It seems harsh, but sometimes the extremes help us see the reality we choose not to see otherwise. I have had to lovingly step back from a few friends.

Ask yourself hard questions:

“Can I be fully myself around them?”

“Do I leave their presence feeling uplifted or drained?”

“Do they talk highly of others?”

“Do we mostly gossip about other women?”

The answers to these questions will reveal a lot to you about the safety of a person in your life. This does NOT mean they are less worthy of love, it does not mean you need to “ditch” them. It does mean you have a clearer picture of the reality of the friendship and you now have a choice on how to engage the friendship.

3. Realize the power you hold.

Simple right? You are powerful. You can make hard choices. You can have tough conversations. You can say yes and no and mean it. Once my friends started seeing that I acted like a powerful person (because I finally believed I was one) I started noticing that more powerful women surrounded me. I was attracted to confident, driven women. The petty water-cooler talk started having less and less appeal to me. People notice when you have higher conservation standards for yourself.

Become the powerful women you would want as a BFF. That is the magic secret to making sisterhood friends.

4. You don’t have to be everyone’s BFF.

You don’t. And thank God.

You do not need to be everyone’s friend, and everyone does not need to know you. This was the hardest for me to put into action. Saying no to fun events you just don’t have time and energy for is hard. Some crazy part of me wants to be involved in everything and know everyone, but that is just not healthy. (Trust me, I tried this and it gets you a lot of acquaintances and no real friends.)

Be lovely and kind to everyone you meet. If you hit it off with a new friend, awesome! But do not feel obligated to invest in everyone. You physically, mentally, and emotionally can not do it. You weren't created to do it.


 

When you learn to find your safe people, allow yourself to be fully seen and fully loved, step into your power, and become a good picker, your friendships will truly change. YOU will change.

You'll become the friend you want, and in return, attract the kind of friends you need.