Kindness is generally deﬁned as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. We most commonly think of kindness in relation to others, but how about being kind to yourself or the world you live in—within your neighborhood or the planet itself? What does kindness look like to you in these three domains?
The Wheel of Life is a simple visual tool that is used to identify areas in our life that perhaps need more or less attention. Here, Anna Black has adapted the concept into a Wheel of Kindness so you can identify the level of kindness and compassion you feel you currently offer to yourself, others, and the environment.
HOW TO DO IT
- Rotate round the wheel and in turn, using a scale of 0 (low) to 10 (high) write down the degree of kindness and compassion you feel you currently give.
- Mark your score on the relevant spoke.
- Join up all the marks around the circle, as shown below.
- Reﬂect on the resulting shape. Does it feel balanced or do some areas get lots more or less kindness than others? As well as discovering areas that would beneﬁt from more attention, you may ﬁnd that you are giving too much in other areas; this can show up particularly when we look at kindness to others.
REMEMBER: When doing any reﬂection like this, it is important to do it without judging. It is simply a tool for giving yourself feedback.
THE WHEEL OF KINDNESS
This wheel covers the three domains of kindness and compassion to ONESELF, OTHERS, and the ENVIRONMENT. How much care, kindness, and compassion do you think you give to yourself, others, and the environment? Reﬂect and mark on each spoke what you think.
This wheel uses the four of the ﬁve pathways to self-compassion identiﬁed by Christopher Germer.
PHYSICALLY: How kind are you to your body? Do you take care of it by eating healthily, exercising, and resting regularly? Do you push it beyond its limits? How do you take care of it day in and day out—do you brush your teeth or hair roughly, for example?
THINKING: How self-critical are you? Do you set impossibly high standards? Do you judge yourself for your actions and/or behavior? What tone does your voice have? What kind of words and phrases do you use toward yourself?
EMOTIONALLY: How do you treat yourself emotionally? Do you self-soothe when things are difficult?
SPIRITUALLY: How much do you acknowledge and commit to what you value in life?Reﬂect and acknowledge where you are at as honestly as you can.
KINDNESS TO OTHERS
This wheel has blank spokes so you can insert speciﬁc names or categories according to your own circumstances. You don’t need to ﬁll in all the blanks, but as a minimum I recommend you include your partner (if relevant), family, friends, co-workers (if relevant), and strangers. You can break it down into individuals if you wish. “Family” can of course mean non-blood relatives—someone you consider as family. Look at your scores. Do you treat others as you would wish to be treated?
REFLECTION: What do you notice looking at your wheels? Are there are any surprises? Can you identify areas where you would like to increase your kindness and compassion score? Are there are areas where perhaps you need to pull back a little and perhaps not devote so much attention to?
It is important to acknowledge that our attention will ﬂuctuate between the different domains and up and down depending on what is going on for us. This is okay. Knowing and being aware of this means we can make continual adjustments to live a healthy, balanced, kindful life.
Enrich your life through self-care and kindness to others with Anna Black’s A Year of Living Kindfully. To get more great blog posts like this one - direct to your inbox – be sure to sign up to our mailing list here.