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:
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: