Most days, I wear a purple flower around my neck. Etched into the ceramic clay are the words, "Be Kind." I've been wearing the same necklace nearly every day for the last six years as a reminder to myself and to others to treat everyone you meet with kindness because you truly never know their story. A simple act of kindness every day, from a smile to a stranger to holding the door open for someone who is just a little farther behind than you, can brighten someone's day instantly, no matter how awful their day or life has been thus far.
Lately, though, I've been giving new meaning to my "Be Kind" necklace. I have always been a proponent of treating others with kindness no matter what. But along the way, I forgot the most important person to be kind to: me. I am a person, too, and there's a reason that the saying goes, "Treat others the way you wish to be treated." So if I want to treat others with kindness, that means I wish to be treated with kindness. And the person who can start showing me some kindness begins with me.
It's easy to get lost in helping others and the stereotype of being selfish by putting yourself first. But, in order to be kind to others in e genuine manner, you have to be kind to yourself first. That's why in case of an airplane failure, the flight attendants tell you to give yourself oxygen first before helping others--you can't give everything to others without first giving to yourself.
While I maintain my motto of being kind to others, I add to that motto that I must be kind to myself. It is OK to put myself first sometimes. It is OK to take some me-time to relax and unwind. It is OK to say no to asked favors. And it is OK to treat myself with kindness.