The start of a new year can be a difficult time. Once the excitement of the Christmas holidays has worn off, the idea of settling back into the usual routine can feel like a daunting prospect. It doesn't help that we're usually bombarded with incentives to improve our lives during this period. To counteract societal pressure and the January blues and usher an overall positive attitude, Justyna has repainted her South East London home into a Room for Kindness.
What's a Room for Kindness, you ask? It's a space where Justyna has painted five huge and colourful wall illustrations. Depicting everything from flying tigers to astral swimming pools and third eye chakras, these murals painted on walls and chimney breasts symbolise the five stages of growing self-kindness. On top of that, Justyna is also posting daily illustrations on her Instagram about how we can all cultivate self-kindness.
Justyna tells Creative Boom: "With COVID still rampant and a lot of uncertainty and isolation in our lives, we don't need New Year's Resolution that makes us feel bad about how we are – whether we think we need to be slimmer, fitter, need to work harder, study more, get new skills, find a partner, etc.
"What we all need instead is self-kindness. The ability to hold ourselves with compassion, care and love, so that we can relax, reflect and make decisions based on our well-being rather on our perceived lacks."
We can't argue with that. To visualise this journey towards self-acceptance and self-love, Justyna's paintings include murals titled Let Go, Listen, Accept and Forgive, Nourish, and finally Love. These are the various stages one must go through in order to learn to love themselves, because as the artist points out, there sadly isn't a button we can press which will magically do all the work and self-growth for us.
Spiritual American teacher Ram Dass was a huge influence on Justyna's Room for Kindness, as can be seen in the psychedelic imagery in her paintings. A quote from the famous guru: "You are loved for just being who you are, just for existing" also made her want to create a space where she can grow to love herself regardless of any external reality.
Justyna adds: "The upside on working on a kindness project, or maybe the reason I started it, is so that I could improve my own self-kindness and enter 2022 with more love and compassion for myself in my heart.
"Very importantly too, working on your self-kindness is not a selfish act – you can only give as much kindness to others as you have for yourself."