K is for Kindness
I say this as a person who is not particularly kind. I admit that I have a temper, and I have a tendency to snap at people when I don’t mean to, or sound overly harsh when I’m just trying to be firm. But I’m trying to be gentler, kinder, and form nicer responses before biting people’s heads off.
When I look at so many of the world’s problems, I wonder what having just a little more kindness would do. I’m not so naive as to think that kindness would cure all of the world’s ills, but I do think it would make the world just a little bit better.
A while back, I did a random act of kindness experiment. My goal each day was to find one random person and do one secret random kind act for that person. I did a lot of fun, sometimes crazy things that really stretched me as a person. I found that being kind to strangers was addictive. Sometimes, I had an almost intoxicated feeling watching someone’s day get just a little bit better. More importantly, I learned that when I was intentional about doing one kind thing, I ended up becoming kinder in general. While it was a great experience, I learned something else valuable. Being kind to random strangers makes no difference when you aren’t being kind to those closest to you.
I’ve been wanting to go back to my kindness experiment, only this time I’m doing it with a twist. I’m choosing to deliberately be kind to someone in my own life. Rather than putting pressure on myself to be kinder or be nicer or whatever, I’m giving myself a manageable goal. One deliberate act of kindness toward someone who needs it. My act of kindness may be as simple as not giving a mean retort when someone says something to hurt my feelings. It might be buying my friend a cup of coffee. It might be watching a princess movie for the 1,987,230th time with my Princess. It might be following through with a promise I didn’t really mean to make. It could be any number of things, but it only has to be one thing.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t say that the kindness challenge also included being kind to yourself. Because let’s face it. We’ll do everything we can to be nice to those around us, but what are we telling ourselves when we look in the mirror? We give someone else a break, but when do we give ourselves one? My post about indulgence is a good reminder that sometimes the person we need to be kinder to is ourselves.
When I originally came up with this challenge, I kept it a secret because I try to be mindful of the verses in Matthew about giving to the needy in secret. I didn’t want my good deeds to be about puffing myself up in the eyes of anyone else. But as I think about kindness, and the need for us all to be just a little bit kinder, I realized that I can’t ask others to be kinder if I don’t tell my story. So now, as I move forward in my own personal kindness challenge, I’d like to have people join me.
Since April is blogging A to Z month, I’m going to make May my Kindness Challenge month. Are you willing to commit to performing one intentional act of kindness toward someone in your life during the month of May? It may not change the world, but I know it’ll brighten someone else’s day.