What is the experience that comes before an act of kindness?
The decisions we make are often a reflection of our values, beliefs, and past experiences. I asked Katy (todays #snapshotofkindness nominee) to tell me a bit about her motivation to be kind.
“When you’re able to truly respect the path of others, kindness becomes second nature”. -Katy
No one experiences life in the exact same way. So much of our perception of others is through the lens of what we know and grew up with. This awareness allows us to be kind to “unkind” people, because (most likely) they aren't unkind. Most likely they are communicating their needs in a way that is different than ours. Hold space for others to be different. Difference doesn't need to mean “separate”. Difference doesn’t need to equate to someone being right or wrong.
I was introduced to Katy via Janelle:
How Do You Know The Nominee?: Yoga mentor, Life Coach, Inspirational Blogger.
How Has Their Kindness Inspired You?: During our training and afterwards, Katy was very frank about battling her own personal demons and how this struggle inspired her to start a blog for wellness, lifestyle and meditation. It is very inspiring when someone is brave enough to be that open about their life and using their experience to impact and help others. I have been so honored to be her friend, her student, and hope to continue learning from her in the future.
The goal of Steller Kindness is to bring forward stories of “everyday” impact. It is a reminder that people are experiencing and learning from us, whether we realize it or not. Katy doesn't pretend to be perfect, or paint an illusion that life is easy. Katy holds a space for people to be people.
What inspires and motivates you to be kind?
As I started seeing myself for who I really am, beautiful flaws and all, I realized that no matter how much I have ever messed up, my heart has always been good. If that was true for me, then wouldn’t it be true of others? We all have misgivings, bad days, have made missteps and ‘bad’ decisions. It’s not my job to judge the actions of others, that’s for the individual to use for their own growth, which will happen at their own pace. My only job is to understand that their heart is the same as mine. Wanting, needing, bleeding. When you’re able to truly respect the path of others, kindness becomes second nature.
Janelle mentioned that you are an Inspirational Blogger. Tell me more.
When I started out in the ‘wellness’ career I struggled with how much of myself to show. How can I be a lifestyle coach, or meditation and yoga instructor and educator when I also suffer from anxiety and have a past of depression? When I swear and (gulp) sometimes drink too much? I was afraid to let people see the whole of me and ended up creating a lot of internal struggle. I’ve come a long way in my own self-growth, and have a lot of tools to share, but I’m also a normal human, with real struggles. It wasn’t until I gave myself permission to be all of me, the light AND the dark, the grounded AND the untethered, that I felt at peace. Blogging is a way in which I can be my authentic self, where I can shed a little loving light on things like the struggle of being 34 and single in the midwest or learning to embrace the procrastinator within. My hope is that by doing so I can give others the same permission: embrace every part of your personality, past, struggles and soul. It’s only from there that you can truly see what it is that you need. (Blog can be found on my website: katyqcarlson.com. Just a note: content can be explicit)
What inspired you to become a yoga instructor and your journey to wellness?
Yoga was step one in my own healing. It’s where I understood that I could be okay in a real, true way and I immediately wanted to hold that space for others. This soon became the norm: I’d find something that speaks to and replenishes my soul, then find a way to gift it to those who may need it. When I experience the success and growth of others, my cup is so incredibly filled that I’m driven to continue my own development, which creates this immaculate revolving door of growth, because I then spin what I learn into a way to provide for others who may be experiencing the same struggles. Seane Corn (inspirational yoga instructor) says “If you want to find out where your service is, go to your wounds”. To me there is no greater purpose than to help someone whose shoes I once stood in. To say, ‘I see you, I understand your struggle, and I can help you.’
If you had one piece of advice to give to others about how to spread a little bit of kindness every day, what would that be?
We all know being kind is important. I truly believe that we must hold space for each other and lift each other up in order to have healthy and thriving communities. But, I think what I want to point out is that sometimes, it’s hard. I have days where I wake up and kind of feel like being a miserable bitch. I’m crabby. Sometimes rightfully so and sometimes because it’s Tuesday. And that’s OKAY. However, those are the days when kindness is most important and here’s why: self care. To be kind to others is to RAISE YOUR OWN VIBRATION. Which lowers stress levels, encourages metabolism, as well as the immune and nervous system. Oh, and it makes it easier to be happy. Seriously. So, if you find you’re having a rough day finding that little extra for others, give yourself permission to be a little selfish, be kind to others for YOU.