Somebody close to me often reminds me to be ‘soft’ when I am rushing around trying to get things done. They remind me to pause and remember what soft involves…being gentle, warm, caring, thoughtful, loving, sympathetic, considerate, compassionate, understanding, friendly, tender, amiable, genial, unselfish, forgiving, generous, helpful, supporting, & nurturing. These are all qualities that compliment kindness to others and ourselves. So sprinkle some more of these qualities in your life too and warm those around you with kindness. Being soft reminds me of my purpose & brings more meaning to my life
Being soft is more authentic as it means we are not merely ‘coping’ but instead connecting with our soft inner self. In doing this we connect more to our connection to others, to nature, to life.
We maybe need to distract ourselves from the constant unkindness in the media…the judgments and violence and instead focus on the difference that we can make. There are constant small and huge kindnesses happening around us all the time…the kid carrying an old lady’s shopping home for her or the gent helping someone across the road. When my students help me pack up after class I am always so grateful for their kindness. Every day I say thank you for the kindnesses offered to me…by friends and strangers. There are billions of untold stories every day of love, kindness, support, generosity and charity happening every day. Take a moment to quietly appreciate that goodness in the world.
Kindness is one of the most under rated qualities I know. That and gratitude. Being soft and being kind are often not the qualities promoted by society as we rush around on our constant journey doing rather than being. When we carry out an act of kindness it is a statement that you care. Being kind connects us to those around us. So much of community and connection is about kindness and feeling cared about! Kindness is like a muscle…the more we use it the easier and more natural it feels to use it more often! In the world as it is at the moment maybe we need to make strengthening this muscle our priority?
We need practice, attention, discipline and mindfulness. Just as when strengthening any muscle.
Here’s nine simple ways to add more kindness to your life and start to flex your kindness muscles
1. Smile and greet people in a friendly way. Friends, associates and strangers all deserve a smile. Smiles are contagious and often lead to more kindness!
2. Give a compliment. It could be on someone’s dress or attitude, maybe a compliment on someone else’s caring behaviour could encourage it more so you can strengthen both your kindness muscle and theirs
3. Be courteous …help someone with their bags to their car or hold the door for people. It may be small but it matters. Say please and thank you.
4. Listen. Give people your full attention when they talk. Giving of your time and energy is kindness.
5. Sometimes being kind is about not doing things…not gossiping or being judgmental, refraining from commenting negatively.
6. Build bridges not walls. Make friends with your neighbour or the elderly person who lives alone. Remember that the only colours that should be separated are those going into in a washing machine!!
7. Buy someone a pending yoga class….purchase a class for those who aren’t able to afford to themselves.
8. Post someone a letter or a card just to tell them that they matter to you. Let their post be more than admin and bills. Or pick up the phone and have a conversation rather than texting. Even better arrange to meet in person.
9. Be kind to the world we live in; recycle, be aware of how you live and make an effort to ’tread lightly’ as you walk through this world. Plant a tree, nuture nature not things.
Basically take every opportunity to do a small kindness wherever possible. Those that noone knows about are even more special as they help us to manage our ego…& its need for reward.
Most of all though…be kind to yourself. Stop with the over thinking, the drama, the negative influences around you. Start with the looking after yourself by finding time to meditate, do yoga, eat well and rest when needed. Did you know being kind can increase your happiness, lower stress, lower blood pressure & inspire more kindness.
So practice random acts of kindness. Starting today