We often talk about kindness and it is one of those terms where we know what it means, but when it comes to acting through it we struggle to truly understand the essence. Kindness is a simple and even more so natural instinct we all have inside. However, when forced (like anything else in life), we tend to complicate things. I know whenever I try to force an act of kindness out of myself I can become paralyzed and then even feel fake at times. So after many attempts leading to trial and lessons, I have learned a few “go to’s” that always help lead the way.
First things first, one of the most important… if not MOST important part of acting through kindness. INTENTION. When our heart is in the right place our intentions are pure. One of the most common and detrimental ways to take away from your kindness is when you attach the expectation of receiving because you gave. Even something as simple as expecting to hear “Thank you” in return of holding the door for a stranger takes the integrity straight away from it. Why? Because you are giving to receive credit instead of solely giving to make someone else’s day a little brighter. Anything that we receive in return is simply a cherry on top to knowing we chose to spread kindness.
Take a second to ground yourself. A few deep breathes, and smile. At first it may feel like a fake smile but within a few seconds you will feel a physiological change as your body starts to react to this small act. Look at that… just by taking a moment to slow down and turning your focusing to give yourself some love, you were able to cue your brain to release some of our favorite endorphins that positively affect your mood, energy, and ripple through the rest of your day. Share that smile with others. Instead of playing the “I didn’t see you even though we both saw each other” game when walking past a stranger, practice making eye contact and smiling from your heart to your eyes. Sometimes you may get one back and others may shoot you with a hard no, but regardless you choose to create the opportunity for an exchange of kindness.
We all have thoughts that float in and around our heads every second we are going through life as a means of understanding and experiencing the world around us. Ever have the passing thoughts like… “Wow, her smile is contagious” or “Man, his music is moving”. Those thoughts that are sparked by something inside you, a genuine thought of appreciation. So often we allow them to stay between the walls of our mind when a simple compliment could make someone’s day, might even be when they need it most. That saying “give credit when credits due”… I say we shake it up to be “give love when its felt within you”. Kindness is better when shared, whether it is with family, a stranger, or yourself… when your heart is touched express it, set that inspiration free!
Kindness comes in all different forms and at first may seem overwhelming to try and think of on the spot. If you find yourself stuck, come back to any or all of these 3 pointers. They are the foundation of any act of kindness and will always help you see opportunities as they arise. Life is happening at its own pace, do your best to move with it sprinkling your kindness where you feel it.
Deep breathe. Intentions set. Smile. Observe. Be moved. Be one. Be kind.