The sixth year of owning this blog has snuck up on me and I realize that, in my opinion (IMO), I have yet to say, or share, something substantive. What do I really mean by that? I want to provide something here that gives you a reason to come to this space, take the time to read and think about what I wrote, and go away with something that makes your life even a little bit better in some way. It doesn’t have to be major or profound, just worth your time and attention.
So where do we start? What would you like to read about here? What makes you feel more able to deal with whatever gets thrown in your way? Learning something new (although I don’t know what you already know)? Seeing a different way of looking at something? Learning to feel differently about something or someone? Improving your physical/mental/emotional/spiritual health without obsessing about it or spending oodles of money on it? What?
After thinking about it for most of the day, it occurred to me that the one thing we can all do, and get a really big return on our investment (which does NOT have to involve any money), is to be kind. To everyone and everything. And you know what’s really cool is that it doesn’t take much at all to be kind.
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition (1982, Houghton Mifflin Company), the first definition of “kind” is “of a friendly, generous, or warmhearted nature.” Being kind is not about being a doormat, gushing at folks, or acting against our values, but it can take us out of our comfort zones on occasion. Being kind is a premeditated attempt to make someone’s experience – large or small – better (whereas being cruel is a premeditated attempt to make someone’s experience worse).
Some examples of kind acts are: letting a person in ahead of you in line (any line); giving your seat to someone older, weaker, or more infirm than you on a public conveyance; offering to help someone with packages, pets, or small children. I came up with these three in less time than it took to type them. You can probably come up with ten or so off the top of your head.
Being kind doesn’t have to be active. It’s a mindset. Let me repeat that. Kindness. Is. A. Mindset. Listening without interrupting in order to understand another’s point of view is kind (although, good manners would put it as standard operating procedure). Waiting without fussing until someone is finished doing whatever they’re doing is kind. Not eavesdropping on someone’s telephone conversation is kind.
Or are we straying into the realm of polite?
Does it matter? The words kind and polite are often used together. Polite is the absolute minimum for appropriate interaction between humans; it can be kinda cold (hence the phrase “chilly politeness”). Kind, on the other hand, implies some warmth in the interaction, and we all can use all the warmth we can get.
Next time, we’ll get into “validation.” And in this day and age, who doesn’t need all the validation they can get?