Be kind whenever possible.

It is always possible.

Dalai Lama

Be Kind unless you aren’t

I’m sure no one disagrees that it’s a good thing to be kind whenever possible to others.   However, I’m the first to admit I’m not always kind.  The reason I’m not always kind is that there are various factors which I justify in my head which are present, which “excuse me”.   They don’t excuse me, but my ego thought system will always justify me doing something that goes against my best interests if it keeps the ego going.   

Kindness is a choice

What this quote is saying is that you can always choose to be kind whenever possible.   For me, this was a stretch at first.   Why should I be kind to someone who verbally attacked me?  Why should I look benignly on when someone did something which violated my values?  Of course, growing and learning in this life journey has caused me to understand that no one is attacking me, and no one is violating my values.  These are simply interpretations I have put on other people’s actions and behaviours, which usually have nothing to do with me at all.   So stripping that back, the option to be kind whenever possible is a choice I can make.   There is no obligation on me to be kind either.  But at least I recognise when I’m not being kind, I could have chosen otherwise.  

Standing in another’s shoes

There are some situations when it’s pretty easy to be kind.  Usually, if for example, someone is suffering and upset, and they are being vulnerable, our instinct is to reach out in kindness.   However, that same vulnerability and suffering can be in existence even if the person is raging, abusive or unkind.  This is when it is difficult to cut through the defence mechanisms and recognise the pain and hurt inside.  But when you can, you find it easier to be kind, no matter what the situation.   

A friend’s husband started to verbally attack her when she decided to leave him.  She chose to ignore his behaviour on a level because she knew he was hurt.  His pain was causing him to lash out.   That’s not to say you should put up with someone’s poor behaviour because they are suffering. But while you are getting out of the way you can still be kind. 

The Transformative Force of Kindness

Kindness is a transformative force in our lives, often underestimated in its power to bring about positive change. It acts as a beacon of hope and comfort, especially in times of struggle or loneliness. Small, compassionate gestures can create a domino effect, inspiring others to act kindly as well. When we practice kindness, we not only improve the lives of those around us but also enrich our own lives, fostering a sense of connection and community. The beauty of kindness lies in its simplicity and accessibility; it doesn’t require grand gestures or substantial resources. In a world that can often seem divided and harsh, kindness serves as a unifying language that transcends barriers and brings people closer.

1. Paying It Forward in a Coffee Line

Offering to pay for the order of the person behind you in a coffee line can be a delightful surprise that brightens someone’s day. This act of generosity can set off a chain reaction, encouraging others to pay kindness forward. It’s not just about the financial gesture but the message it sends – that we’re part of a community that cares for one another.

2. Sharing a Compliment

A sincere compliment can have a lasting impact on someone’s self-esteem and mood. Whether it’s praising a colleague’s hard work or admiring a stranger’s outfit, compliments are a way of acknowledging and appreciating the people around us. They help create a more positive environment and can boost someone’s confidence significantly.

3. Volunteering Your Time

Giving your time to help others is one of the most valuable forms of kindness. Volunteering at local shelters, charities, or community events not only supports those in need but also enriches your own life. It fosters a sense of community and connection, reminding us of the power of collective effort in making a difference.

4. Sending a Thoughtful Message

In the digital age, a simple text, email, or social media message can mean a lot. Reaching out to someone to check in, especially if they’re going through a tough time, shows that you care. It’s a gentle reminder to them that they’re not alone and that they’re valued.

5. Helping a Neighbor

Assisting a neighbour with chores like grocery shopping, lawn mowing, or even just spending time with them can significantly improve their quality of life. Older individuals often face loneliness, and your presence and assistance can bring much-needed joy and convenience into their lives.

6. Donating to Those in Need

Donating clothes, food, or other essentials to those in need is a direct way to impact someone’s life positively. This act of kindness not only provides material help but also conveys a message of solidarity and compassion towards those facing difficult times.

7. Offering Your Skills for Free

Offering your professional skills to someone who can’t afford them, like tutoring, fixing a computer, or providing legal advice, can make a significant difference in their lives. This form of kindness can help someone overcome barriers and achieve goals they might have thought were out of reach.

8. Listening Actively

Sometimes, the best way to be kind is simply to listen. Active listening without judgment can be incredibly comforting to someone who needs to talk. It shows that you value their thoughts and feelings, providing them with a safe space to express themselves.

9. Cooking a Meal for Someone

Preparing a meal for someone, whether they’re unwell, grieving, or just busy, is a nurturing way to show you care. Food is a universal language of love and care, and this gesture can provide both physical nourishment and emotional support.

10. Leaving a Generous Tip

Leaving a generous tip for service workers, especially when they’ve provided excellent service, is a kind way to show appreciation for their hard work. This financial boost can be a big help, and the act of recognition can make their day more rewarding.

Through these acts of kindness, we can create a more empathetic and connected world. It’s the small gestures that often carry the most weight, leaving a lasting impression on both the giver and the receiver.

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