In a wounded world the healing is in our hands. We can heal our world with one kindness at a time, according to David Friedman in We Can Be Kind, Healing Our World One Kindness at a Time.
And in order for us to be kind in the world we must be kind to ourselves. The last blog post gave nine ways to do that, although there are many more. But we begin with ourselves and move out into our world with kindness. Here are some ways to do that:
- If you see someone struggling with something, and if you have something that would help, give it to them. No strings attached, even anonymously if that is theonly way they will take it. That help can be anything from helping someone carry something to providing them with an opportunity that may change their life for the better.
- Take the time to listen non-judgementally, not trying to solve their problem unless asked.
- When someone asks for directions to someplace nearby, take them theire personally, even if it is out of yur way. If you see someone who looks lost or upset, go up to them and ask if they need help.
- When someone is in a situation where there is nothing you can do to change the situation, simply be there with them, not trying to fix it but being present with them.
- When someone asks you for help and you can't give it, simply tell them that you can't help. If there is something difficult you must say to someone, tell them honestly. Most people prefer that you speak honestly and from your heart. It is a kindness.
- The next time something aggrevates you, like someone cutting you off on the road or someone isn't doing something the way you prefer, notice what you are thinking and change that to kinder thoughts. Decide to be kind. Smile at the other person, tell them it is o.k., and notice your upset-ness de-escalating. Watch how your kindness adds love and joy and relief to the people involved. Be a peacemaker.
- And the next time you find yourself in a difficult negotiation, like dealing with a service person, airline clerk, frustrated neighbor that is rude or won't give you satisfaction, try being kind when you ask for what you want. You don't have to be mean, even if they act mean, to find a satisfactory result.
- Don't fight unkindness with unkindness or attack with attack. It only give more power to the unkindness and keeps it going, usually escalating the exchange. This can be difficult, but it is powerful. State what you are for and not what you are against. You may find that you both want the same thing in the end. This is being kind and can change many contentious situations.
- Sometimes kindness is being nice, polite. Sometimes nice is tough, not enabling unhealthy behaviors. Sometimes kindness is telling the truth when their hearing the truth can help them. Sometimes kindness is not telling the truth when the truth would only hurt them or someone else and would not help. In every circumstance think about what would be the kindest thing to do, and be kind.
- The next time you have a disagreement with someone, try to put yourself in their shoes and see things from their perspective. Try to think what you would want if you were in their shoes. And endeavor to give that to them - respect, understanding, listening, etc. If there is something in the world that you feel you aren't getting, give it to others and it will come back to you.
- When caught up in an argument or disagreement, ask the other person what they want and why they want it. Instead of arguing see if you can simply listen, then do what you can to resolve the issue peacefully without fighting or arguing. Be kind. Kindness begets kindness.
- In dealing with people from different cultures, religions, sexual orientations, view them simply as human beings. Rather than look for their differences, look for what they want that is similar to what they want -peace, respect, safety, happiness. Offer them the kindness you would want, treating them as you would want. This creates a bond of cooperation rather than conflict. We have the compacity to know everyone's needs because we have the same needs ourselves.
This just a very short list of ways to be kind in the world. Next blog I will share the rest of the list that Friedman gives in his book.
I recommend you read We Can Be Kind, Healing Our World One Kindness at a Time for his explanations and examples. It is good reading a supports you as you develop the habit of kindness.