How can survivors of abuse love themselves for World Kindness Day?

World Kindness Day will be celebrated around the world on November 13. First introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement, World Kindness Day offers an opportunity to highlight good deeds in the community and the common thread of kindness.

It is an annual event that encourages individuals to practice kindness in their daily lives. It highlights the importance of empathy, understanding, and cooperation to create a more harmonious and caring world.

While we may think that this means being kind to others, it can also mean being kind and compassionate to ourselves, especially survivors of domestic abuse or violence. Survivors have often been told by their partners that they are worthless or that they don’t matter, so it is incredibly important for survivors to be kind to themselves.

“Many survivors still live with the soundtrack of our abusive lives in our heads: “You’re stupid,” “You’re ugly,” “It’s your fault that I did this to you.” The B-side of the soundtrack can be just as damaging: “I love you” can cause an inordinate amount of confusion when coming from someone abusive, especially when it is clear that in that moment, that they mean it,” award-winning author Alle C. Hall shares. “To be kind to myself means replacing that soundtrack with one of my own making. I use affirmations. They may seem goofy and “soooo 1980s,” but they work. Three times a day, into my eyes in the mirror. Three times each I say: I am beautiful, inside and out; I am worthy of love; I am perfectly healthy and pain-free; all I need is amply provided for, and I am safe. It was a little embarrassing, at first, but the more I chanted my affirmations, the better I felt. And it’s free!”

Ways Survivors Can Love Themselves on World Kindness Day:

  1. The Power of Affirmative Self-talk

It’s vital to be our own advocates. Actively combat self-deprecating thoughts by anchoring yourself with positive affirmations. Remember, the dialogue we maintain with ourselves can shape our perception of the world. Daily reminders of our worth, love, and innate strength can be a light, guiding us towards the path of self-acceptance and healing.

  1. Cherish Yourself through Self-Care Rituals

Healing is as much a journey inwards as it is outwards. Dedicate moments of each day to your well-being. Whether it’s immersing in the sanctuary of a book or discovering catharsis in a cherished hobby, embrace activities that resonate with your soul. After all, self-care isn’t just about pampering—it’s about reconnecting with oneself.

  1. Foster Connection by Seeking Support

Human experiences, as varied and complex as they might be, seek validation and understanding. Surround yourself with empathetic allies, be it friends, family, or support groups. There’s unparalleled strength in shared experiences; they serve as reminders that we aren’t alone in our battles and that our stories matter.

  1. Journaling – The Mirror to Our Souls

The act of transcribing our innermost thoughts is both revealing and liberating. In the scribbles of our fears, hopes, and dreams, we find reflections of our true selves. Embrace journaling as a therapeutic practice, allowing yourself to confront, comfort, and celebrate the many facets of your journey. As you chart your growth, resilience, and challenges, you’ll uncover the invincible spirit that defines you.

  1. The Art of Setting Boundaries

If love is the foundation of healing, boundaries are its pillars. Recognizing and asserting our needs isn’t an act of selfishness—it’s an embodiment of self-respect. By carving out spaces where our well-being is prioritized, where our narratives aren’t compromised, we take command of our lives. And in doing so, we teach the world how we wish to be treated.

It’s easy to overlook the fundamental importance of being kind to oneself. Too often, we become our harshest critics, focusing on perceived flaws and mistakes, which can be especially amplified for survivors of abuse. However, it’s crucial to recognize that kindness towards oneself isn’t merely a luxury but an essential component of mental and emotional health. 

By acknowledging our worth and embracing our imperfections, we lay the groundwork for resilience, healing and growth. Embracing self-kindness allows us to navigate life’s challenges with a balanced perspective, understanding that setbacks are a part of the human experience and not a reflection of our worth. When we’re kind to ourselves, it radiates outward, influencing our relationships and interactions with others. In essence, self-kindness not only nurtures our own well-being but enriches the world around us. 

Now available as an audiobook, Alle C. Hall’s award-winning novel, “As Far As You Can Go Before You Have To Come Back,” is a story about a survivor of abuse who discovers the path to healing after she escapes her abusive family.

The overarching message of World Kindness Day for survivors is that self-love isn’t just an indulgence – it’s a necessity. It’s crucial for healing and rebuilding a life marked by dignity, respect, and joy. By turning the kindness they often extend to others inwards, survivors can find a reservoir of strength and resilience. On this World Kindness Day, let’s remember that the journey to recovery is not just about surviving but thriving through acts of kindness, both to oneself and to others.