“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” – Princess Diana
“Ask yourself: Have you been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world.” -Annie Lennox
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato
I’ve been playing around with this topic for a while because there’s just SO MUCH I want to share about kindness in relation to creating a happier life.
What is kindness? I think some people tend to confuse kindness with sacrifice.
To me, kindness is when we use our human resources to express the desires of our souls.
I truly believe that at the core of each and every human being there is a soul and that soul is a gentle, loving and kind energy force that is linked to every other soul in the universe, Therefore, when we are kind to one another, that’s just your soul saying hello to mine. It’s the only language that our souls know how to communicate with each other.
I know how cheesybally I sound right now but it’s truly what I believe.
It’s like our soul knows exactly what we need to be doing to end up where we’re supposed to be. Because (and please correct me if I’m wrong here) when we see someone in need of help our first instinct is to help them. When you see a pregnant lady boarding the train and there’s no available seat your first instinct is “I should get up and give her my spot” but then our EGO kicks in and it’s all like “pshttt, I got here first. Besides I’m getting off at the next stop. She can have my seat then.” We justify our lack of kindness to ourselves to suit our objectives.
I find that a lot of people I’ve discussed the topic with seem to believe that to be kind means to give up something, to go out of your way, to inconvenience yourself for the sake of a stranger.
And for the sake of honesty, I wouldn’t completely disagree with them. Yes part of that is true. They are people out their who really make a difference in the lives of others at the expense of sacrificing their own. Yes, they are some great, gentle and kind human beings out there that listen to each and every desire their souls lead them to. And while all those acts are genuine grand gestures of kindness, they are not the only way to show kindness. The kindness I’m talking about costs nothing and it feels so great! I’m asking you to wake up tomorrow and make a promise to yourself to treat the people around you the way you would like to be treated. With respect and love. To smile more often. To give someone a hug at least once a day. It releases these chemicals that make you happy! =)
And do you know who is the first person that you should be kind to? Yourself!
When I told a friend of mine this, her reaction was hilarious. She said to me: What does that mean? Be kind to yourself… I don’t get it. And how does it help anyone?
Maybe she is unique in her confusion but if there’s something I’ve learned over time is that we’re never alone in our thoughts. There’s always someone out there feeling the same way we are.
So I explained it to her. The way you treat yourself sets the tone for the way you treat everyone else around you. Family, friends, coworkers, strangers.
If you’re constantly criticizing yourself then you develop an aggressive behavior towards others. You think people are pointing fingers at you when they aren’t, you’re constantly questioning the affection your loved ones have for you… at least that was my experience.
Being kind to yourself means loving yourself in every possible way. Accepting your flaws, forgiving your mistakes. To share love and kindness in the world you’ve got to fall in love with yourself first. I don’t mean the “shallow” parts of you, your body, your clothes, your worldly possessions, while that’s all great and if you’re successful in all areas you deserve to celebrate it, but that’s being in love with your EGO, and there’s so much more to you than that. I’m talking about falling in love with your heart, with your feelings (even the awful ones), with your soul, your gentleness, your vulnerabilities, your weaknesses, your flaws and your uniqueness. And share that love with the world. I could go on forever, but I’ll stop here. Cultivating the habit of kindness vs anger/resentment/indifference/apathy and notice the amazing and positive changes it will make in your life.
I personally am a giver. I give and I give and I hope and I hope that someday, it won’t hurt as much. Because the truth is that we live in a world where kindness is rare, and therefore when we see it or experience it we question it, second guess it, believe that the person has ulterior motives. It’s sad but it doesn’t always have to be that way. If we all start spreading a little more kindness everyday soon enough we’ll come to celebrate it.
“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” – Og Mandino
Here are 3 examples of how I’ve extended kindness out in the world within the last week:
Kindness towards a Stranger: I was waiting in line buying some unnecessary junk stuff at a gas station. The girl in front of me had a 2L sprite bottle. The cashier scanned the Sprite and announced the total $6.60. I saw the girl scramble for money. All she had was a $5 bill. The cashier got upset and told her that she should check her money first. My first instinct was to give her the change. But i didn’t have change. My second instinct was the add it to my bill. But during the lapses of my hesitation as to what to do, the little girl (around 8 or 9 years old) had left. My items were rung in. And i got change back: $1.60. That was my change. The exact amount of money that girl needed for her Sprite. What clearer sign do you need than that? I went outside to see if I could still find the girl. And there she was. At a bus stop. I ran over to her and gave her the change. “For your Sprite” I said. She smiled at me and said “Thank you!” That moment was the best part of my day. I felt lucky. Blessed. Touched. As if the Universe was communicating itself through me. I felt honored. And what did it cost me? Nothing. $1.60. Change that would’ve got dumped in my car or my purse never to be found again.
Kindness towards myself: On Sunday, I was in a car accident. A car had stopped suddenly in front of me and I didn’t react in time causing me to hit his bumper. It wasn’t the slightest of touches so there was some damage. I felt terrible. Responsible. Guilty. Ashamed. I told myself “If you were paying more attention this wouldn’t have happened.” I wasn’t distracted per say, I wasn’t on my phone, I wasn’t drinking, I was just aloof. Driving casual on a Sunday morning, unprepared for life’s curves and dead stops. That’s all it was. And because of that, I might lose my car. My transportation. My freedom. Doesn’t sound too positive, does it? Because it’s not. I spent hours beating myself up over it. I realized that while I blame myself for the accident, I wasn’t ready to forgive myself for it either. I was being very unkind to myself. I had to forgive myself for the accident. Mistakes happen. I’m alive, I’m ok, no one got hurt. I need to appreciate that. I need to assume responsibility and then I have to forgive myself for it and love myself in spite of it. And move forward with my truth. And that’s what I did. I forgave myself. It sounds simple but it’s one of the hardest things to do for me. To love yourself unconditionally. But i’m getting there.
Kidness towards others: I recently discovered a website named Kidness Over Matter. It radiates Kindness from every corner of its being. It’s awesome.
Here is a link you can check them out at: http://www.kindovermatter.com
And on the website i discovered this RAD idea. The site calls it ‘card drops’. Basically, it encourages you to write little notes on pieces of paper and scatter them around public places for strangers to find. The message can be anything you want, as long as it’s a positive one. So a few weeks ago, my friend & I we started making our own collection. It was so fun to do. I used a lot of my favorite quotes in some. We made some awesome inspiring, motivating, soul touching cards and we BOMBED the place. Supermarkets, the library, a night club, we even put one in a Ziploc back and buried it on the beach (please don’t hate me environmentalists). We’re still on the go with it, and we want to make it an international revolution. Since I travel often, I’ll be carrying them with me to my next trip and BOMBING that city too (with kindness. pure kindness)
Here is a link where you can check out more of what it’s about and maybe even start it yourself: http://www.kindovermatter.com/2009/02/beginnings.html
This is all I’m asking you to do. Tell yourself what it is you can do to be more kind in life and just do it. Set your own standards. You don’t need to live by anyone else’s. Wave at a neighbor the next time you see them, smile at a coworker today, remind the person you love of how much you love them, look in the mirror and admire yourself. These are all kind gestures my friend. Once you’ve adjusted your mindset, the actions come automatically.
Whatever you do tomorrow, Have a LOVE-ly day Being Kind!