A CRASH COURSE IN KINDNESS
Kindness leads to inner happiness, peace!
Kindness starts with a thought…
You can act kindly only when you think positively. It’s an expression of your thought! You cannot fake it. It comes from the heart! The thought becomes your words. If you cannot speak kind words, better to be silent. Bhagavad Gita Ch 17, verse 15 emphasizes on austerity of speech.
You can be kind to someone if you already have a preconceived positive notion about that person or a thing but your kindness vanishes when you have a negative thought about the same person or thing.
A mother’s love is the ultimate kindness. Everyone, pretty much has experienced it. She is the symbolic epitome of kindness so we all can learn what kindness is. Kindness is love expressed without expecting anything in return.
If we can emulate that very same love to everyone around we would be in a wonderful world! Kindness is expressed in the same way whether it’s directed towards an infant, toddler, adult or a senior but we often choose to be different with different people based on our own prejudices.
Often times, it can be seen that one can be kind to one’s own child but not to a neighbor’s child. One may be kind to their family, when one needs something from them but not when the family needs something from that one!
Kindness is helping when needed with what you can, when you can, even if it’s just a smile, hug or listening. Others might be able to express their kindness in other ways, that’s okay because it’s neither a competition nor a standard. Kindness does not mean that you agree with others all the time. It means you agree to disagree, you agree to live & let live. People often confuse being nice with kindness.
It’s a like reputation and character. Reputation is others’ perception of you while character is who you are. Being nice is based on how people see you and being kind is how you see yourself. Only when you’re contented and happy you can express kindness. If you feel deficient in your life, that’ll be expressed too..
Being kind could be construed as weakness and taken advantage of but a person of kindness forgives that too. Kindness is being gracious even in times of meanness.
A kind person is often thought of, in times of darkness. more often the absence is felt than the presence.
Why is kindness needed?
Scott Adams said, ‘Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end’.
There are lots of people who are less fortunate with resources, health, both physical and mental and family. First, we need to count our blessings. Helen Keller quotes, ‘I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a man with no legs’, only then you feel the empathy, compassion towards others and grateful for what you have!
What are some ways we can express kindness? There are several ways…Choose to add an additional coin while parking than required, someone can get the benefit. Drop the change for charity after shopping, fill in water in a big pot or buttermilk in another pot outside the home for the unknown walkers on the street to quench their thirst, water the plants, feed the birds and animals, feed the hunger when you’re out and when they approach you by getting a meal from a restaurant. Nothing that you do for others is insignificant.
Go ahead and do something good for others, what you can, when you can, with what you have, to bring a smile in that face. Do this with seniors, people in homes, terminally ill people, homeless and lonely people. You’ll make a big difference in their life. They often need us to be silent and listen to them. Did you notice these two words have the same letters?
How can we be kind?
Kindness starts at home, be kind to your family members. You’re where you are because of them. You parents, your siblings, relations, co-workers, subordinates and supervisors have all contributed in one way or the other.
One thing I learned from my mother is, ‘Learn to look into the positive aspects of each one in your life and remember them forever. If you come across negative memories about others forget them instantly, only then kindness, compassion & benevolence will pour out’. She also said, ‘try not to judge anyone by their behavior, people are inherently kind and compassionate but the challenges that they have faced in their life, makes them be otherwise. You, by being kind, can make a big impact in their lives’.
I experienced one precious act of kindness from my supervisor Mr. Ladisa, an Italian in 1995-97. My husband was ill and I started working for a pay cheque at the age of 50 to support our children. Mr. Ladisa said, ‘I know you need this income for survival. I’d suggest one thing. You come to work at 5 am, leave at 9 am, spend quality time with your husband, have breakfast, lunch and dinner and come back to work at 5 PM and work till 9 PM. That way you get paid for eight hours and you also get to spend special moments with your husband’. I did this for more than a year and my husband passed away, no regrets! Mr. Ladisa was God sent angel! Kindness is in everyone but often we hide it with the clutters in our mind. Just need to declutter your mind so kindness reveals itself to everyone that crosses your path!!
Vijaya, fondly called VJ is a 71 year evergreen personality from Boston, Massachusetts. She has many feathers to her cap, a motivational speaker, a Toastmaster, an avid biker and a hiker to name a few. She has had most of her innings post 55!! Read more of her thoughts here:
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