Believing in kindness seems like a challenge these days. On Mondays kindness oozes out of our hearts with ease and spontaneity. By Friday our cynical egos rear their heads to discover kindness requires a full-scale search in a dry and barren dessert. If we allow it, our moods will determine how kind or kind-resistant we are. If we allow our moods to take charge, our experiences will ricochet from moment to moment. With such a great need to connect to personal thriving, kindness is essential to keeping our eyes and hearts lifted and focused on the high road.
Kindness is a Golden Opportunity
If our days start with a grunt in the mirror as our rumpled bodies and sleepy faces are reflected back to us, we miss a golden opportunity for kindness to ourselves. The mirror serves as an ideal partner to mirror kindness. Why not ask a body part to stand up and shine so you can nurture it for the day? Why not stand and salute as we walk past the mirror as a gesture of respect, and promise to be kind to the self and others? Why not use these moments as mulch to add to your emotional/spiritual garden? Kindness mulch keeps the weeds of mindlessness at bay, and brings out the best features of our inner garden.
Psychology Today highlights that kindness opportunities appear in all sorts of ways when we pay attention to our surroundings. “One way to be kind is to open your eyes and be active when you see people in need. Do you notice when people could use a helping hand? A sense of community is created when people are kind to those who need help.”
Kindness bridges hearts
One of the world’s biggest wounds is a sense that we don’t belong, that somehow we don’t fit in. Kindness bridges the gap between separation and oneness. Let's say our human side witnesses an experience of suffering. Our inner self has been stirred and reminded that we could just as easily be in the suffering hot seat. Without hesitation the energy of love zooms in, and we rally to ease someone's suffering. Regardless of whether or not we have a clue as to how to repair the suffering, we can be certain that kindness helps transition to healing. Our cooperative kindness pushes open the door to possibilities and resolution.
Kindness is an instant relationship builder. We remember when someone waived a fee or brought us flowers for no reason. The energy is recorded in our hearts, and every time the scene plays back we are lifted to higher ground. Edna, a feisty older woman showed up at the doors of the gym as my husband and I were leaving. She asked us for directions to the local hospital. Since the hospital was near my home I offered to ride along in her car and lead her there. (My husband led the way in our own car.) She was delighted with this gesture and immediately accepted. In just a short time, Edna told me about her dying uncle who was given only days to live. He had asked her to stop by and see him. By the time we arrived at the hospital, Edna was crying and laughing at the fate of our meeting. She translated the act of kindness as a spiritual gift for which she was so grateful. I was happy to serve by offering presence, guidance and comfort. It was a memorable win-win for us both.
Does size matter?
Giving and receiving kindness imbues energies of compassion, affection, warmth and love. Whether we let someone go in front of us at the grocery store, walk someone’s dog or rescue a drowning person - the energy has the same impact. Kindness moves us to a lighter and deeper soul place regardless of its shape or size. Two recent experiences of kindness illustrate my point.
In yoga the teacher played a song by Beyonce called “I Was Here.” I was immediately moved to tears, and later downloaded the recording to encourage me to expand my own kindness. As Google link took me to the song's video, and again I was blown away by its strong message.
"I Was Here" is a reflective R&B ballad in which Beyoncé vulnerably reviews her past, wanting to leave an impact on the world before her life comes to an end. …its development was motivated by the September 11 attacks in the United States.
A music video…features Beyoncé performing the song live at the United Nations General Assembly with images of volunteers doing humanitarian work are projected on the screen behind her. The video was donated to World Humanitarian Day. It aims to create social media history with one billion people sharing the message of doing something good for another person. - Wikipedia
Brendan, a coaching client, remarked that his good friend had met his soulmate after years of fruitless searches. While at dinner with his friend, Brendan’s friend shared his happiness and glowed with joy. Although Brendan was thrilled for his friend, he also felt sad for himself and wondered if he too could find "The One.” Memories of Brendan's happy marriage bubbled to the surface, along with the trauma of his marriage ending. I suggested to Brendan that he not separate from his friend, and try using kindness in four steps:
To mentally remind himself how genuinely happy he was for his friend.
To close his eyes and thank his friend for sharing joyful energy.
To harness the joy he witnessed, and shift his heart to welcome the possibility of true love for himself.
To recite this mantra: “I am a loving and generous person and imagine for myself a loving and generous partner.”
Kindness revives the whole person
Random Acts of Kindness reports kindness' holistic benefits. It stimulates the brain’s production of oxytocin and serotonin chemicals. Oxytocin lowers our heart rate. It builds our self-esteem while serotonin keeps us calm, negative-free and heals wounds. Think about it, when your body feels good it’s invested in attracting more of this energy and less drawn to pain.
Our minds take a break from constant stress when we live from a place of kindness. Stephen Post, author and professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, relates that "When we give of ourselves, everything from life satisfaction to self-realization and physical health is significantly improved. Mortality is delayed, depression is reduced and well-being and good fortune are increased.”
Spiritually, kindness brings us closer to our Divine self. It keeps the inner self pumped with peace, love and joy. When we are kind - more kindness shows up for us and the world. “Paying it forward” rises up and strengthens our ability to make a difference in the lives of others. Kindness empowers and brings light into a world full of shadows.