World Kindness Day was celebrated earlier this week, a day that was created by the World Kindness Movement to:
“…further focus on the positive power of kindness…
…kindness is a fundamental part of the human condition which bridges the divided races, religion, politics, gender, etc.
Therefore, nothing is as rewarding as giving back to others.”
Kindness always sounds like a great idea when we hear people talk about it. Of course it is! Who wouldn’t want to live in a world where we’re giving and receiving kindness every day, everywhere we go?
But kindness is often hard to practice on a day-to-day basis. We go about our daily lives, concerned about our troubles, focused on what we have to accomplish. On what we don’t have in the here and now. On people who we believe annoy us or have wronged us.
And that’s pretty normal. The human brain evolved to protect us and keep us alive by looking for danger. But our society has evolved to the point where we don’t need that kind of constant threat detection to stay alive and safe any longer.
The thing is, our brains haven’t kept pace with that societal evolution, so our tendency is to keep looking for threats. In our current existence, it shows as a tendency toward interpreting everyday circumstances as negative ones.
Which makes it rather challenging to go about our days thinking about what we can do to make it a kind world. We have to set our minds to LOOK for opportunities to do so.
Opportunities for creating and spreading kindness are all around us, every day, in every relationship and interaction.
Not just in the easy ones, like smiling and saying good morning to a stranger.
Sometimes true mastery of kindness means practicing it in the more challenging ones, when you typically wouldn’t ever think of it:
➡️ The older man who brought the line at the coffee shop to a screeching halt because he decided to pay for his donut by counting out 37 individual coins, rather than quickly swiping or scanning an app like most people do during morning rush.
➡️ The woman at the office who’s been there for over three years, and yet you’ve *never once* seen her take a turn making a fresh pot of coffee.
➡️ That guy in the pickup truck who sped up just so you couldn’t merge into the lane ahead of him.
➡️ Your child’s teacher, who felt it was her place to ‘counsel’ you that you child’s attention span lately is surely a result of what you pack for lunch, and you should really consider going all organic/ vegetarian/ vegan/ Adkins/ whole foods/ paleo/ fill-in-the-blank-fad-diet.
➡️ Your sister-in-law, who you’ve always had a strained relationship with, and who couldn’t resist making a snide comment about your new highlights.
Tough ones, right?
But like many habits, becoming good at practicing kindness takes just that – practice.
Even when it feels the hardest.
When we feel justified not to.
When we believe the receiver doesn’t deserve it. 👅
Do it anyway. Let go of the belief that the other person doesn’t deserve our kindness.
Practice kindness because it feels good to be giving and kind to others, even if for no other reason than it feels good to us, the giver.
Kindness always feels good when it comes from a place of not expecting anything in return.
That’s how you know you’re giving from the right place.
Happy World Kindness Day to all of you. 💕