The true meaning of kindness is not in any particular definition, but in the way you choose to show kindness. Acts of kindness are voluntary and intentional. Kindness is most powerful when you are kind in a moment that challenges you not to be. Kindness can look like empathy, kind gestures, thoughtfulness, empathy, and acceptance. Kindness is selfless, compassionate, caring, and usually invokes the same feelings love does.
Acts of kindness are acts of love. Love is often shared and expressed through kind acts-- saying something nice to someone else, a kind smile, and unexpected deed or a special surprise. These sorts of actions make others feel hopeful, promoting peace and displaying the power of kindness.
Kindness is usually accompanied by a ripple effect leaving others with the urge to pay it forward. You have the power to spark change by acting with intention. When you offer acts of kindness to others you help others feel good, you are passing along hope, you are promoting peace, and almost suddenly, you are perpetuating the power of kindness.
But, what is being kind to others if you are not being kind to yourself. It feels exhausting trying to pour from an empty cup. Kindness to yourself is of utmost importance. Human error, and making mistakes is normal. The way you respond to yourself and others in challenging times is everything. There is no one who does not want, and sometimes needs kindness, especially when mistakes have been made. Being kind in your response to others requires thinking before speaking, finding and practicing forgiveness instead of revenge, and considering long-term relationships as opposed to short-term pride. Offering grace encourages you to put yourself in others shoes, because at some point you will, or have needed someone to also offer you grace.
When considering kindness it is important to take note of how you respond to challenges but it is as, if not more important to recognize how you celebrate the success of others. A little envy can be inspiration but jealousy and minimizing someone else’s success is truly unkind. Dig deep and be happy for others as opposed to highlighting all of their challenges or potential challenges. It is kind to tell the truth in a helpful way. Thoughtful, loving and caring feedback has the power to propel someone along on their journey while tearing others down has the exact opposite effect.
In addition to being selfless, there is great satisfaction that comes from performing acts of kindness. Celebrate the people you love, give honest compliments, write someone a thank you note, tell someone how special they are to you and refuse to gossip. These kind acts may seem small but they are mighty.
Teaching kindness requires specific attention to Self. It is much easier to be kind when you have taken care of yourself. You cannot teach kindness unless you are leading by example. This means being kind to yourself first. When others see you being kind to yourself, and in turn others, they begin to learn how to practice kindness.
Be intentional in the ways you are kind. It is great to commit to being kind by holding doors, or letting others pass in front of you in traffic but what can you do outside of the norm? It is also okay if these are things outside of your norm, perhaps this is the perfect way for you to start practicing kindness. You can reinforce kind behavior by acknowledging it when you see it, simply start by saying thank you.
What does kindness mean to you?
How does seeing others perform kind acts make you feel?
Think back to the last time someone was kind to you, how did it make you feel?
When was the last time you were kind to someone else? How did it make you feel?
What would happen if you committed to performing one act of kindness a day?
Do you notice when others are in need of a helping hand?
What sort of kind things do you do for yourself?
Checking with you inner critic. Are you speaking kindly to yourself?