Kindness Pledge

(On Creating Psychological Safety)

Special Notes:

The special section describing “banding together to help make the world safe for Children & the Inner Child” comes near the end of this page.

If you are interested in getting strong support for healthy family boundaries, and/ or help creating a “Protective Mindbody Shield”, there are 3 things you can do:

1) Go here to subscribe to “Love & Wisdom Letters”–you’ll get a notification when the support forums that are planned for this site open.  (You’ll also receive the help about creating the Protective Mindbody Shield, directly in your inbox, as it is written.)

2) Complete the poll (on that same page)–make sure to vote for the Boundaries & Shielding option.  If you want, you can send an email to heidi (at) akindfulplace (dot) com letting me know of your interest, and, if you want, telling me what you’d like to learn about & get help with.  You are welcome to share as freely as you wish; but, please don’t include graphic descriptions of abuse.  (“I was abused” is okay.)

3) Reach out to the Kindful Place FB Group.  (Instructions for how to join, here.)

<<Best Wishes, Dear Ones!  I hope you find Joy & Hope & Connection here…>>

Kindness Pledge:  Background Info

HOW WILL IT WORK?

This is my suggestion for how we implement “The Kindness Pledge”:

  1.  All participation on this site, or in the FB group, requires signing the Pledge.
  2.  If someone behaves in egregious disrespect of the pledge, they will be banned.
  3.  Anything else: we just discuss and attempt to resolve kindly & calmly.
>>*<<

DOES MY OPINION EVEN MATTER?

Of course!  This pledge (and this site) are communal creations. I’ve lettered the lines (a-m), so that you can let me know which parts you resonate with, as well as where you’re not as comfortable, or would like to see a change.  In order to move forward, I invite you to sign it according to your own level of comfort.  For instance:

  1.  Total Agreement:  “Count me in!”
  2.  Agreement with the General Spirit, if not every small particular:  “I will uphold the spirit of the kindness pledge.”
  3.  Reserved Agreement:  “I pledge to express myself in kind ways, but I have the following concerns…” (and you can specify your reservations).
>>*<<

WHY EVEN CREATE A “KINDNESS PLEDGE”?

On a recent episode of the podcast WTF with Marc Maron, Katie Couric talked about the “cesspool” that the internet has become.  Late this summer, I read (on Esmé Wang’s recommendation), an excellent Buzzfeed piece called “A Honeypot For [email protected]%holes,” about Twitter’s 10 year refusal to stop harrassment.

There are certainly large pockets of the internet where anonymous, cruel, troll-like behavior trumps our better natures.

But I’ve experienced some of the most profound kindnesses, and meaningful connections, of my entire life, online.  I believe that the kind and mature among us simply need to just gather together, and formalize the kindness we naturally are capable of.

>>*<<

Also: many months before this site went up, I shared an early draft of the idea behind “A Kindful Place” with my friend, Steve.  (He’s a kind, smart, well-adjusted dude from Oregon, with 30 FB friends, and about 3 posts, all of which feature a joyful Buddha statue set in his and his wife’s backyard.)

In other words–Steve is pretty chill.  He wrote me a lovely, supportive little letter about A Kindful Place, including the following…

“I love the name and hopeful purpose of your website. Living Kindness is so much needed in our world today.”

“I love the idea of two way learning and sharing. Students have so much to show the teachers!”

“And the importance of Safety cannot be overstated. People will not share inner and personal experience if they do not feel safe.”

>>*<<

I felt buoyed by this enthusiasm; encouraged to redouble my efforts to make a space like this a reality.

Reflecting on Chill Steve’s kind feedback, I realized he was right–the importance of Safety cannot be overstated…   And that it would take careful planning, and follow-through, to create and ensure a protective, safe, supportive atmosphere, that encourages and deepens genuine, heartfelt, vulnerable sharing and receiving.

And, so, I’ve created the Kindness Pledge…

>>*<<

WHAT’S IT BASED ON?

The Kindness Pledge (which you can find below) is my best stab at formalizing the attitudes and practices of the kindful, and the emotionally mature and aware adult.  (But it’s still in process!  I welcome your feedback on what to add, subtract…  what to alter or rephrase or amend, if anything.)

I hope to give some more in-depth background on the inspirations behind my wording of the pledge, soon.  But in brief, my inspirations are:

*NVC (NonViolent Communication)–and the idea that it’s helpful to see others not as “other”, but as fundamentally human.  Rather than label behaviors, it’s useful to see them as the other person’s best current approach for meeting their own needs.  (It doesn’t mean that the approach is good, that the consequences of their approach aren’t harmful; it’s just a lens for understanding what we have in common, which is that we are each highly motivated to meet our own needs.  And that we do what we now.  As Maya Angelou has said:  “When we know better, we do better.”)

*Parker J. Palmer’s “Circles of Trust” (copyrighted) approach; based on the idea that we each have direct access to inner wisdom (in the form of an “inner teacher”) but that we need other people to help us fully discern and decipher that.

*Researcher Amy Edmonson’s work on “psychological safety” on effective teams; and the importance of feeling safe speaking (that you will be listened to, and you won’t be penalized for taking risks) and that we can accomplish much more when we feel galvanized by a common purpose.

*Finally–I’m inspired by Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova’s fundamental insight that “It is far more satisfying to understand, than to be right.”

>>*<<

PLEDGING PROTECTION & HEALING HARM

This final and perhaps most crucial piece of the Kindness Pledge Puzzle has to do with:

  1. Offering Strength and Protection to the Most Vulnerable in Society, and
  2.  what I think of as “Making the World Safe for Children, and the Inner Child within each of us.”

Offering Strength and Protection to the Most Vulnerable in Society (and Healing Harm)

The first part is rather straightforward:  In our lives, and here, I believe that compassionate, realistic awareness of the world means offering a conscious sensitivity and protection-from-harm to people come from the most vulnerable segments of society, including:

*members of minority groups–due to race, sexual orientation, etc. (especially heavily persecuted ones)

*people who’ve experienced mental illness

*people who’ve experienced trauma.

 

This isn’t about political correctness; it’s not about avoiding openness for fear of offending someone; it’s about an inner heart stance.  A commitment to refrain from harm.  It’s about being gentle; about acting on the knowledge that some people have been hurt over and over, or hurt deeply, in their lives, and because of that knowledge, trying not to add to that hurt.  It’s not about shutting down, or closing off, out of the anxious or angry worry that someone will be offended.  It’s about taking care with our words, but remembering that we all make mistakes–and taking responsibility for healing those mistakes.  We heal mistakes, and brokenness, and cycles of toxic harm, when we take responsibility.  When we intentionally speak in kindness, respond rather than react.   When we decide to fix problems–when we let people know when they’ve done something hurtful.  When we listen to feedback that we’ve been hurtful, acknowledge it, and reconcile, amend the hurt.

>>*<<

FOR CHILDREN… & THE INNER CHILD

Making the World Safe for Children, and the Inner Child within each of us (and Healing Cycles of Harm)

As adult humans–our primary commitment, and perhaps our most sacred one, is to serving and protecting the well-being of children.  We owe children our deepest and most respectful care.  To acknowledge and serve their inherently valid feelings, meanings, and needs.  To acknowledge and serve their inherent right to dignity, kindness, separateness, and safety.  To flourish physically, emotionally, mentally–and as their own authentic, unique selves.

 

This is what children are owed–but not what they always experience.  A Kindful Place should be a safe haven of the enlightened awareness, that some people come from toxic family systems.  This space should be free of “Sandusky Syndrome”–the systemic, society-wide denial of abuse.  The mindless, re-traumatizing insistence on family “loyalty.”  It is a healing step, to acknowledge trauma and toxicity.  To step away from, and heal, cycles of harm.  It is a step forward, to set healthy boundaries–and we should lend our enlightened, kind, gentle support and protection to individuals doing that difficult work.

 

Our deepest and most crucial kindful commitment, is to offering our protection and strength, our humble non-reactive gentleness, to the most vulnerable among us, especially children.  Let us make the world safe for the vulnerable, and for children, and for the child inside us all.

>>*<<

Thanks in advance for your kind engagement!

Click here to read & “sign” the Kindness Pledge (by leaving a Comment expressing your commitment, in the Comments section).

In Kindness–

Heidi Juniper

>>*<<

If something on this page touched you, please *SPREAD the KINDNESS!*
heidi.juniper
Founder at A Kindful Place
Heidi Juniper is a recovering perfectionist and self-connection coach, helping people gain power and insight from their emotions, by honouring each person’s own inner wisdom, and offering tools from psychology and neuroscience.

She sincerely hopes that this fledgling community, as it grows, may help you find something meaningful or helpful you've not found elsewhere.

We love comments! If this is your first comment here, please sign the KINDNESS PLEDGE (located in Top Menu) by expressing agreement in the Comments Section of that page. Using an account that links to your real (first) name & a genuine photo is preferred. FB login will show in main thread if you "Reply" to a WP Comment. Thanks so much, for what you share! :)

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