One of the lessons students are really touched by in the Inner Strength curriculum is when they learn the Love and Kindness practice. This lesson cultivates a teen’s ability to be compassionate towards themselves and towards others.
In one of our recent Love & Kindness sessions, the students opened the lesson with a calming breathwork and open awareness practice. It helped them let go of everything else that had happened during the day so they could be present and engage more fully. Haylee, our Inner Strength instructor shared some affirmations with them. Some of the teens have been writing their own affirmations and they like the idea of seeing themselves as successful, kind, loving, confident, and strong. Affirmations also expand the circle of care towards others and towards the world. As the research shows, the more we care about greater circles of wellbeing, the more directed we feel and the more resilience we are able to draw from when times are challenging.
The love and kindness practice can pique the teens’ interest as they often find it is hard to counter negative rumination and self-talk. For some, it is a rare opportunity to be kind to themselves.
In a recent class, the students wrote their own Love & Kindness meditations. They were challenged to think through when and why they would sit down and actually do it themselves. Here’s what Guiliana tapped into. Enjoy her guidance – as you do the practice, get a sense of what the world looks like through a high school student’s eyes, and her heartfelt wish for a kinder, happier world.
“The Golden Rule & Self Awareness
I’d like it if everyone could close their eyes and focus on only the words you hear me saying…
As you listen to my words, breathe in and out at your own pace. Throughout this practice we will, together, try to make the goal to put your mind first.
To do this, it’s important to remember you are the only person who directs your life. You have control to be whoever you want to be. It’s important to reflect on ways you treat yourself and others.
Now, think of someone who has treated you with respect. How did they do that?
Now, think of a way you have treated others with respect. How did you do that?
How have others treated you?
Think of the ways they have treated you positively – with loyalty, kindness, trust, effort, passion . . .
Choose any words you like . . .
Now think of ways you have treated others positively. . .
With loyalty, kindness, trust, effort, passion . . .
Choose any words you like . . .
When you finish, notice how you feel and remember this throughout your day”.
This reflection pulls the reader into a world of compassion and gratitude that extends from self to those around them. There is an emphasis on positive, reciprocal relationships.
I hope you enjoyed it, every time I use Guiliana’s contemplation, my heart warms. This is our goal as an organization – to inspire youth to choose happiness, to be their best selves and to inspire others to do the same.
Help us give the gift of love, kindness, and mindfulness to students like Guiliana. Your donation will help more teens like Guiliana spread goodness in the world. As Maya Angelou once said: “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed”.
Donate here, today.
We all thank you and send you this wish: May you always be surrounded by Love & Kindness!