As the holidays approach, I always think more about kindness, for a plethora of reasons.
First, there are lots more crowds than I usually deal with, and crowds remind me of the need for kindness! And crowds mean being around more strangers, and I’m often touched by the kindness of strangers.
The holidays are also emotional for me. I feel gratitude. I feel some grief for the people I’ve lost. I feel nostalgia for holidays past. I feel lots of love during times with family, friends, parties and concerts. Last year there was sadness and isolation because there weren’t concerts and family get togethers. This year, there are questions about who and how we’ll get together, maybe some nerves. All the feels. These feelings open my heart wide open, and remind me again about both the need and the desire for kindness.
I was talking with a client, and we agreed that kindness is a spiritual practice. And then those exact words were reinforced by Marianne Williamson on a call two days later. So yeah, kindness is a spiritual practice.
Like any spiritual practice, it’s a daily practice. Sometimes we need to boost our practice with intention and discipline. I like to keep a list of things on a sheet I title “one thing a day” and keep track of my intentional acts of kindness. It gets me back in the habit. After a month or so of tracking my actions, I find that I am back on track, and it is just my way of being again.
You know, kindness has a lot of unintended consequences. We don’t plan for everything that happens because we are kind – we couldn’t possibly. The ripple effect is so huge that we can’t even see all the consequences. Some consequences will always be invisible, too, because they are inside of someone else.
When someone is kind to me, they can’t see the unintended consequences. They can’t see that inside they have melted my grouchy heart and turned my whole day around. They can’t see that I feel kinder myself. They have no idea what kindness and generosity I might go out and share; no idea of the ripples of their act.
To me, the ripple effect of kindness is like the butterfly effect – except that instead of butterflies, it’s angels’ wings.
Finally, there is no act of kindness too small. A smile, letting someone go in front of you, holding a door, telling a child that you like her sparkly shirt, remembering a detail from someone’s life, throwing in an extra “good boy” to your dog…none of these are too small.
One of the colors of kindness is magenta – divine grace and love in the little things. Because kindness is made up of love.
Oh yeah, and kindness can absolutely be a leadership attribute. Think about that for a moment…what kind of world would we have if there were more leaders who intentionally chose kindness as one of their leadership strengths?
In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!
Love and light,
p.s. Are you a leader who wants to rise to the next level? Are you a leader who wants to hone in on and develop your own leadership style? Or do you just have questions? Send me an email and we can set up a time to talk: firstname.lastname@example.org