A new realisation has come to my attention: I am afraid to be kind. Truthfully, kindness never was one of my highest values – in the first half of my life I was too busy competing to even consider it as a value. This is changing and now I’m beginning to finally see kindness as an integral part of being human. With every kind act towards myself or another, I affirm my own inner beauty.
The challenge for me with kindness has been in dispelling negative beliefs around it. For some reason, I’ve always thought of kind people as people-pleasers, do-gooders and the like. And some are. I’m in the kindergarten of kindness, wrestling with my shadow to discover how I can contribute the kindness I now know burns inside me in an authentic and life-affirming way. Here are three truths I’ve learned about kindness:
- It’s the intention behind the action that counts.
- Choosing to be kind can be an act of courage.
- True kindness requires deep presence.
- Use your strengths to express kindness.
5. Ask, what’s the kindest thing I could do in this situation?
Explore your relationship with the idea of kindness. Be fiercely adventurous. Do you believe yourself to be a kind person? Are you afraid of how your gifts will be received? If you weren’t afraid of what people might think, what would you give? How do you hold your kindness in? Why do you hold it in? Do you feel like you won’t have enough if you give to others?
A kindness challenge: Ideas of how to give to exercise your kindness muscle
– What do you have in abundance? Home grown veggies, unused clothes, money, kids toys, books. Get creative with ways to give it away. Make veggie-patch bouquets, find out where old toys would be most needed.
– What do you love doing? Writing, yoga, cooking, organising, painting. Get creative with ways to give what you love.
– Making jam or sauerkraut? Make some extras to have on hand to give away.
– Keep a stash of nice cards so you can send hand-written thankyou notes.
– Send a friend a nice text just because.
-Offer to give your husband a massage.
– Leave love notes in your kids’ lunchboxes.
– Do something kind that scares you, and admit that it scares you, but do it anyway! Eg, read to people in a nursing home, serve at the soup kitchen, call a women’s shelter and ask how you can help.
Let me know how your kindness challenge is going?!