Everyday I am reminded how kind and how cruel the world can be. Kindness is all around us, but many times we don't take the time to truly recognize the good around, only the negative. We watch the news, walk down the street, or look through a magazine or the newspaper and are inundated with negative news that is frankly unkind.
What is KINDNESS? I think that most of us think about it as being nice. I want to challenge you to think beyond "being nice." What if we thought about kindness in a way that constantly built up other people instead of just doing the bare minimum to be nice to someone. What if we took time to build the person up. Every minute of our lives we choose how to live it. We can either choose to live those minutes doing hurtful things to other people or ourselves, or we can spend those minutes seeking out the better person inside while helping others find a better part of themselves.
How could we help others? How could we possibly help ourselves? It really is a simpler answer than you think. The answer is being a true authentic self to yourself and to others. That means having feelings, acknowledging them, embracing them, and moving on to the next emotion.
Let me give you an example. The other day I was super excited because I was able to have time to get some crafting done that I have wanted to do for a long time (and was ALL OVER THE HOUSE!). This was a very exciting time for me to know that I was going to be productive. I really wanted to share it with people around me, I guess you could say that I was looking for some acknowledgement for all of the work that I had done. So I took the time to show my husband and my friends how excited I was about my new project!! NOW...... This is where it can get tricky.... either I can be "conceited" and make it seems as though I am the Queen of the World because I accomplished so much, or I can choose to be humble...... but remember.... I was EXCITED... so that can be hard. ALSO.... The other people can be disinterested, or invest little time acknowledging me and celebrate with me.
You see in this story there are three different people.
Myself- I have a choice to build up myself by celebrating the things that I have accomplished. This is building myself up! This is making myself a better person by being true to myself. I also have to choice to be humble and express my excitement without casting down negative energy on the others I am showing.
My husband- He has the choice to be interested or not. If he is going to take the route of showing KINDNESS, he would take the time to acknowledge my work and show even the slightest bit of interest. Why would he do this though... he doesn't care about crafting?? Well you see if we as a society are going to be KIND we need to work from the smallest bits of kindness before we can build it up. In this moment he can smile and take time to look, which validates my feelings, and creates and open line of communication that allows him to share my excitement. (or he could "validate" having a clean house..... Not as exciting though...) This won't necessarily build him up as an individual, but it will create a small moment for him to build someone else up which creates a betters healthier relationships.
My friends- Now this would be similar to my husband in that the choice really is interested or not, but with friends we typically have different expectations for them. It seems as though with many of the clients I see and within my own relationship that there is an expectation that our spouse show the slightest interest. However, with friends, I just hope that they can tell me good job and only participate in a small bit of the happiness. This is more of a "drive by" KINDNESS occurrence. They really only need to provide with a brief moment of acceptance and then the topic gets to change.
This is a more difficult task than it seems on paper... When we are able to look at counselor jargon we would look to the wise man, Albert Ellis. He looked at how humans can stop disturbing their happiness and explained it in his theories of Unconditional Other Acceptance and Unconditional Self Acceptance. We are all constantly having feelings good and bad. They change throughout the day, hour, even minute. If we waste our lives away by placing a weighted, global judgment upon ourselves and others, we do not have enough minutes to spend being happy.
Come on people! LETS CHANGE THE WORLD and show KINDNESS to ourselves and others.