“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible”
2020 has been a year of many of challenges. We have all had to dig deeper to bring more light into the day and if we can, help someone else do the same. My secret weapon has become something that is defined by simple acts and little moments, yet carries a powerful love-punch that can last for days: Kindness.
It calls on the best of us to show up and encompasses generosity, courtesy and consideration. Here’s three big ways to bring a little more kindness into your life, starting with today:
1) Being kinder to YOU!
In our foundational Level 1 course, we work a lot with the Divine Law of Self First. This has nothing to do with being selfish or self-absorbed and everything about being accountable for your own needs. If you aren’t kind to yourself first, then kindness towards others can feel empty or even needy.
Many of us feel like we have to earn kindness and struggle to feel that we deserve it. But if you’ve ever worked with children, you may have noticed that positive reinforcement is a much more powerful motivator than harshness or negativity. Adults are no different.
Sometimes I find it helpful to step back from myself and look at my challenges as if I’m listening to a good friend telling the story. I am always more compassionate when I see a situation from the outside looking in, and doing this always illuminates where I’m being overly hard on myself and could use some encouragement.
Be your own best friend. Practice saying some kind word to yourself in the mirror, or write a positive statement about yourself on a sticky note and place it by your computer screen or work space. Even just a gentle moment in the day to stop and be kind to your body through movement or good food can do wonders to shift your mood. Only you know how hard you are working to be the best you, make sure you acknowledge yourself with some kindness.
2) Kindness with others.
Scientists have been studying the effects of kindness for years and have proven that kindness makes us happier and releases hormones in our brain that are associated with bonding and fulfillment.
With each person I meet, be it in person or online, I always remind myself that I don’t know what they individually are up against. It could be sick relatives, job instability or just the challenges that come with social isolation. It’s always easy to judge someone else if you don’t know their story. I try to keep that in mind and practice kindness instead.
One act of kindness can turn someone’s day around and bring happiness to you. Try it. It can be as simple as an act of courtesy and patience in the grocery store. Encouraging words in response to a friend’s social media post or an unexpected gift to a person in your community or family.
3) Kindness to our planet.
It’s easy to take for granted the generosity of our planet, which is constantly working to give us all we of what we need to survive. We all know it is reaching a tipping point of strain with climate change and pollution. Recognizing this can feel overwhelming, like it’s such a big problem, what can we as individuals do? If we can extend this energy of kindness to the planet, I think it’s a good start.
I also have noticed that when I practice kindness to the Earth, I feel more grounded and connected to where I live. It might be simple acts like recycling with care of walking instead of driving, or just stopping to appreciate the beauty of a tree or flower. How can you bring kindness to the planet today?
There is nothing like practicing generosity to realize how much we actually have to share. Be kind with yourself and others and watch it spread, it may just be the most important thing you do today.
“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.”