Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Kindness Project


Brightening the world one smile, one kind word,
one blog post at a time

Please see the end of this post for a description of TKP and who else is participating.

A painting by my son, Tom

I have been thinking about what to write for this month's kindness blog and decided to write about the far-reaching effects of being kind, even small and seemingly insignificant acts, and how that can affect our entire planet. So being kind to someone is actually kinder than we think. We may hope that the person to whom we are being kind benefits (which they may do even if they don't even realise we are being kind to them), but I believe there is much more to it than that.




Firstly being kind is good for ourselves. I actually believe this is the primary objective. Not in a selfish way, but the very act of genuine kindness has to benefit ourselves first, before it can actually benefit anyone else. I know that I get a warm glow inside when I do something kind for someone. I know that I love how it makes me feel. I seem to walk a little taller, feel a little better about myself, and the world seems a little brighter. It doesn't even matter if the recipient notices or responds as I have practiced letting go of my expectation to their response. I just try and be kind because it makes me feel better about myself when I do. I have also noticed that the more I am kind, the more those around me start to change. I have especially noticed this at work and with my immediate family at home. People who previously were a bit snarky or moody or uncommunicative are now more open and friendly and smilely.

Being kind is also, of course, good for the recipient. Providing that the act is not intrusive or unwanted, but genuinely and authentically given.

But I also believe that being kind helps our planet. When we are kind, or loving, or in gratitude, or laughing, or just generally being positive, I believe the energy transmits itself out, like strong tsunami waves, going far beyond our physical body in all directions. Down as well as up, in as well as out. So the whole planet benefits. I also believe that positive energy is much more powerful than negative, so a little bit of good goes a long way.

And I also believe that is how our world will change. With everyone working on themselves. If we all just focus on ourselves and how to be the best person we can be each day, we can work miracles. Our world will change dramatically. Each tiny step we take is actually a huge one. We just can't sometimes see the difference we are making at the time.

Here is an amazing video of how women are making huge changes in our world in just this way. The following film was taken in July in Jerusalem and shows Palestinian women laughing and hugging Israli women, as part of the Braveheart Women's RISE 2012:


http://budurl.com/PioneerCollaboration

I have made it a goal to be the best I can be every day. I don't always manage it. To be honest, I can be a complete moody cow at times. I can be impatient and stroppy and short tempered. But here's the thing. Every time I express one of those horrible traits, I immediately feel a dischord. It feels wrong. I know I am behaving badly and I don't like the feeling now that I am more aware and more present. So it is easier to change and easier to see where I am going wrong. Perhaps I need to pause before I speak (yes, Claire, this is definitely what you need to do!), perhaps I need to have something (healthy) to eat, get more sleep, or go for a walk in the fresh air. Perhaps I need to stop rushing and actually listen to what my husband and kids are telling me about their day. Perhaps I need to slow down a bit and not say yes to everything, maybe prioritize a bit more. Whatever it is, I can more easily see what needs to be changed ABOUT ME. And then I am more authentic and more in line with who I want to be.


What about you? What are you doing to change yourself? What are you doing to be kind to yourself or others?

The Kindness Project

Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good. But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren’t feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project. Please take a moment to visit these amazing people:

32 comments:

  1. Lovely, Claire. I like nvisioning this kindness tsunami!

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  2. I can be a moody cow I suppose too, wait that be moody cat haha

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  3. Great post, Claire! I completely agree about the energy of kindness.

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  4. "Be the change you want to see in the world." It does start with us. The energy we put out into the world comes back to us. Like you, I've discovered that my kindness to others often impacts me more than them. But in showing kindness to all those around me, those around me change too. It's really hard to be mean to someone smiling at you, someone holding a door, someone letting you cut in line.

    Really great message, Claire.

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    1. I love that quote. We should all have it tattooed on us! That is so true about it being hard to be mean to someone being kind. My Buddhist sister showed me and now I have proved it to myself. Thanks Carol.

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  5. If kindness makes you feel good about yourself then you should be on cloud nine, as I have yet to see any other side of you.

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    1. Aww Bridget, thank you, what a lovely thing to say. But obviously I am a horrid moody mean wombat at times. Just be glad you're not married to me!! LOL

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  6. Claire, the trickiest bit can be to do good for its own (and one's own) sake and releasing expectation of gratitude. But it's really the best way to be, ain't it? :-)
    Some Dark Romantic

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    1. Yep. The only way. Otherwise you just get all resentful as they don't respond in the exact way you wanted them to! Thanks for commenting :)

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  7. I am trying to find patience when I have none, to be helpful when I don't want to, and to be kind when I don't have to. Easier said then done on hard days, but in the end, I'm the winner if I do it.

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    1. So true, Michele. I am Mrs Impatience most of the time, but am definitely getting better. Thanks for the comment.

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  8. Agree with you a hundred percent, Claire!

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  9. Great, awesome points here, Claire! You're so right that kindness benefits the giver as well as the receiver! And you made me think of the "pay it forward" adage. Just a small act of kindness passed along makes everyone smile. The world's a brighter place! Thanks for the reminder~ <3

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    1. Thanks Leigh. Yes, paying it forward is so cool.

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  10. I love your comments - a moody cow, and not ever have I seen you be one! In fact, I have never seen you be anything but kind. Good post!

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    1. Aha but you don't live with me LOL thanks Mary :)

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  11. Kindness starts with yourself and then moves out to the others around you. If you do not love yourself, how can you love others?
    Great post!

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  12. This is a great post! And I feel the same way, when I'm not as kind, or let myself get short-tempered or something, I feel so unhappy. And you really nailed the most important part--the kindness has to be genuine. Love this! :)

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  13. Excellent post. I love this "Not in a selfish way, but the very act of genuine kindness has to benefit ourselves first, before it can actually benefit anyone else."

    What a great way to look at it ;o) I really try to be kind every day too. For me? It starts with empathy.

    Loved this!

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    1. Thanks Erica. Empathy is great - it can really help to put yourself in someone else's shoes at times.

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  14. Hello fellow Californian!

    I can't remember how I stumbled onto your blog, but glad I did. I am all for kindness in this sometimes cruel world.

    Cheers ~

    thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Tami, great to meet you. Always good to be kind :)

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  15. I'm a moody cow too. I feel bad for my kids when I get like that, but then they usually get me that way. LOL! Love this. I'm signing up too!

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    1. Yay! Great Mina, good to have you on board.

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  16. Very well said, Claire. Mostly I've learned to hold my tongue, but every once in a while a bit of frustration seeps out:) And it does feel really good when I've made a positive difference in someone elses life.

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    1. Yes it does, doesn't it. Wish I could remember that more when I'm speaking without thinking!

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