3 minute read

Why Kindness and Self-Care Could Save the Planet

By Gaelle Chassery

guest writer


© Gaelle Chassery 2020

Iam in love with everyday simplicity: the ordinary miracles of crocuses poking through the grass, tender veils of green leaves in the sparkling sun, bees in the heather and the crab apple tree, copper leaves swirling over gold fields, trees roaring in a fierce gale… The natural world’s simple but vital events hold me in constant wonder. Observing them is my greatest act of self-care. Being in tune with the seasons is a golden key to being in tune with ourselves and our beautiful planet. As humans, we are never separate from nature, even though our lifestyles may lead us to forget it. Creating space in our day for connection to our natural essence and environment is life-changing in a very ordinary way. It brings a renewed appreciation for what we might have lost touch with, but has been here all along: the plants, the stars, the sky, the seasons, ourselves. Too often perceived as selfish overindulgence and a waste of time, self-care can take many forms, but is first and foremost a profound state of connection, where self- respect, self-knowledge and discernment lead to deep respect, knowledge and discernment for what matters most. With self-care we affirm that we matter, that we flourish when we are nurtured, like a garden. In my indoor garden of many houseplants, I am always amazed to see how plants respond to the tiniest kindness with immediate growth and thriving. Humans are no different.

At its core, self-care is simply supporting ourselves to thrive: we give ourselves what we need to function as well as possible. Self-care is allowing ourselves to know our preferences, how we work, our passions, what makes us feel excited each day, but also knowing our limits, what triggers us into feeling small, misaligned and unhappy, so that we can learn how to respond to ourselves like a parent responds to their child—with compassion and guidance. In essence, self-care is parenting ourselves. Giving ourselves permission to be our better self, eager and ready to contribute to the world, while allowing times of incubation, rest, play and contemplation. We have the best example in nature: the seasons tell us everything we need to know.

Like many others, I had to go through regrettable extremes of self-neglect before gravitating towards a much more harmonious, manageable and kind approach to self-care. When we bring ourselves in alignment with what is most important to us, we reach natural, discerning self-care. We just know what to do for ourselves. We become kinder to all beings because we are naturally kinder to ourselves. We learn to give ourselves the space and time needed to be our best self, we learn the wonderful art of boundaries, we discover our core values, we are ready to thrive.

Within this perspective it is much harder to cause harm, because we understand ourselves so well that we can better respect everyone else. We prefer peace instead of ups and downs, maturity instead of drama, curiosity instead of judgement… not jumping to conclusions, more balanced focus, more discernment on how to spend our precious energy and resources. We take things less personally, there is no compulsion to strike back in anger or pride. But we also become clearer, firm, no longer peoplepleasing, creating the space we need for what is meaningful to us, in turn making sure we are available for those who need us.

True self-care brings poise, increased compassion, a wider perspective. From selfcare we can allow ourselves to do more of what makes us feel whole and joyful, peaceful and inspired, we find our true unique path and purpose. By allowing ourselves to pause regularly in acts of real self-care, we nurture a mind and body that naturally regenerate, we create supportive neural pathways that allow us to act from balanced understanding, where we genuinely care for ourselves and one another. Quite simply, with self-care, we make a sustainable, long term investment in ourselves so that we can give our best to the world—and our best is surely what the world deserves.

About the image on first page: “The Promise” - Gaelle loves painting trees alone, reminding us we can stand strong and tall, but never separate from our surroundings, always nourished in interdependence and interconnectedness. © Gaelle Chassery 2020. All rights reserved.

About the author

I’m a French artist, maker and designer living on the West Coast of Scotland. I believe that kindness will save the world and that self-care is a superpower. My passion and mission is to enhance quality of life with a gentle but practical approach to the everyday, and I love writing about that in my cosy slow living blog: https://www.gaellechassery. com/blog


Website: www.gaellechassery.com

Instagram: @gaellechassery_soothing_art