Updated: Jan 9, 2022
I’m not sure where the words came from. It’s not anything I’d heard in a class before, but the moment the words left my mouth I knew it was how I wanted to close each and every class.
If I do nothing more with my life than inspire someone to be kinder to those around them and themselves, I’ll consider this life a success. Some may read this and think I’m letting myself off with an easy goal. “Being kind….that’s it? She should totally try for something a little harder.”
Newsflash: Being kind isn’t easy.
If it was, you’d do it all the time. If it was, the world would be an incredibly different place. Think about it.
If more people were kinder to strangers…to people they don’t know or don’t have anything in common with…we might not have so many wars. We might not have so many random acts of violent. Or so many incidents of road rage.
Think how many times you’ve gotten into a stupid fight with your friends or family? Usually they’re the folks we lash out at first. The ones we have the shortest fuse with. The ones we expect to always have our back…sometimes forgetting to have theirs. These are the folks we are meanest to because…well, because we know they love us…even when we don’t – or can’t – love ourselves.
And then we have how we treat and talk to ourselves. This may be the greatest tragedy. Because from the treatment of ourselves stems our treatment of others and vice versa. How many times have you called yourself stupid…dumb…lazy…fat…ugly? How many times have you said something to yourself that you’d never dream of saying to a friend? When was the last time you offered yourself words of encouragement???
It’s true, people, we have a shortage of kindness these days. Maybe it’s because we have a shortage of time…of patience…gratitude…respect…tolerance…love. It doesn’t matter which comes first, but if we don’t feel those things from or for those around us….or offer those things to ourselves…well, we just create this circle of ugliness….of darkness…of hate.
Next time you see a homeless person and get annoyed because you think they are going to ask you for change…or maybe they do ask…, stop. Look them in the eye and smile. You don’t have to give them money, but see them. See them for the human being that they are. See them for all that is similar to you, rather than all that is different. Because I bet if you took the time to get to know their story, you’d see it’s not so different from your own. You just happen to have a roof over your head at night. Be thankful.
Next time your [insert family member here] pisses you off, stop. Take a breath. Look them in the eye and smile. Remember that like you, they are doing the best they can. They are dealing with struggles and hardships…and probably not using kind words when they talk to themselves. Help to stop this cycle by offering a kind word in return…or a hug…or a random, “I love you”. And see what happens.
Next time you play that loop of nasty words that you spew to yourself when no one is looking or can hear you, stop. Look yourself in the eye and think of at least two things you genuinely like about yourself…no matter how small or insignificant. And then the next time that nasty loop starts, stop and think of two different things you like about yourself.
Eventually, press pause on that old loop all together and replace it with one of kindness…one word at a time. Then maybe you’ll find yourself using those words of kindness in your interactions with family…with friends…even strangers.
If enough of us flip the script and focus our energies on spreading kindness, we might be utterly shocked at the ripple effect we cause around us. Don’t regret a failure of kindness. Being kind is a monumental goal worthy enough for us to set our sights on…worthy enough for us to achieve.
Take two minutes to watch this video. Take two minutes to be inspired. Take two minutes to be kind.