Are you feeling the desire to make a positive difference in our world?
You aren’t alone!
It’s as if the negativity reported daily in the morning headlines or on the evening news is compelling everyday people to simply begin to create positive solutions.
Kindness, it seem, is the foundation. And the knowledge that every action or inaction we take has a direct impact on the world around us.
I’ve just finished reading Dare to be Kind: How Extraordinary Compassion Can Transform Our World, written by Lizzie Velasquez.
Lizzie is a motivational speaker , TEDx speaker, and now author whose message of kindness must be seen to be appreciated. Without giving too much away, if you have never heard of her (I hadn’t until I picked up her book at the library), Lizzie has taken the incidence of bullying and turned it on its head. You cannot be unmoved by her vulnerability in telling the horror of her own bullying experiences. Watch Lizzie’s Tedx talk here.
Lizzie convincingly makes the case that it is hurting people who hurt people.
Think about the Truth in that:
It is hurt people who hurt people.
People who feel good about themselves are unlikely to want to inflict harm on others. Be it verbal, emotional or physical.
Somehow, somewhere this hurtful person, spewing nastiness, must have gotten the message that hurting another person was acceptable behavior.
Children are not born hateful. It is what they are taught.
Can we lead by example? Can we model kindness to those who may have never known it?
That’s not to say that being kind is always easy.
It takes commitment day by day, perhaps moment by moment, to be kind to someone who is unkind.
To treat them with love, in spite of how they treat you.
To speak only kindness, in spite of what they say to you.
It takes practice.
Want to join me in practicing Kindness? Here are a few quick ideas:
~Say hello to everyone who crosses your path, make eye contact, offer them your smile.
~Share a table at the local coffee shop.
~Leave a note on a windshield in a parking lot, wishing the owner a wonderful day.
~Keep a box of energy bars in your car or carry a few in your purse and offer to the homeless.
~The next time your meal creates leftovers, bring some to an elderly neighbor (even if you don’t know them). Nothing says love like a home cooked meal.
~Buy an extra copy of a book that resonated with you. Share it with someone in need.
~Make a meal for the new parents down the street, packaged for their freezer. If you’ve ever had a baby you will understand why.
~Toss some doggie treats into your pocket when you head out on your daily walk and offer to pooches you happen to meet (ask permission first). If you make a practice of this your neighborhood dogs will greet you with excitement, and their owners will be instant friends
~Express your appreciation: for an on time delivery, for a great meal, for a job well done , for the fun shoes she’s wearing, for the great smile she has, for her beautiful hair, for the corny jokes he tells, for his contagious laugh. Simply throw compliments around like confetti: let others know that you see them and their efforts. Trust me, you will create a ripple. Do it enough and people will smile whenever your face comes to mind.
~Leave positive messages on social media. Like someone’s post? Take the extra step and comment. You will open the door to discussion. Discussion leads to connection, connection leads to community. Who knows where that may lead?
~Help your neighborhood businesses by not only buying local but spreading the word about a great haircut, dog groomer, car repair, yoga teacher. Leave positive reviews on YELP for your favorite restaurant. It takes just a moment for you, but means the world to a small business owner.
~Send a thank you note via snail mail. Sure email is quicker but for the cost of a stamp you are supplying a feel good moment that can be revisited again whenever the need strikes. And who doesn’t like to see a personal message mixed in among the ads and requests for money?
~Forward this blog to just one person that you think might benefit from reading these words .
My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness