Hey Maggie, I think I remember hearing you say something about kindness being really helpful in certain times…when were those times again?
Well, kindness is pretty much always helpful to the person you’re treating with kindness, but I think you’re asking “when is it helpful to me for me to be kind?” There is nothing wrong with that question, by the way! One of the people we want to be kind to is ourselves. We often forget that.
Kindness – the act or state of being kind – is beneficial in so many circumstances.
Whenever you aren’t feeling great about yourself – for almost any reason – you will feel a boost when you are intentionally kind. If you need to pump it up a little bit, remind yourself that you are choosing to be kind.
When you’re nervous or afraid. It’s almost impossible to feel kindness and fear at the same time. So if you’re nervous about giving a speech or a presentation, one trick is to focus on the idea that your motivation is kindness…you are sharing some information that you have because it is kind to share. That’s a little neuroscience hack. You’ll see the nervousness fade really quickly. I believe that this works the same with anxiety.
When you are mildly depressed, being kind can help you change your perspective and focus on something new, which can lift your spirits.
When you’re really angry at someone and you can’t do anything to fix or change the situation, being kind to someone else is a great option to get unstuck. I’m not going to bother to say be kind to the person your angry with because I don’t want to be a hypocrite. Also, kindness isn’t exactly the same thing as niceness, I think. You can be artificially nice (see: Bless Your Heart in the south), but kindness is genuine and from the heart.
A final example is when you are experiencing the deep human emotions of life, we often actually crave both being and receiving kindness. I’m thinking of a beloved client of mine who is going through a very deep and difficult time right now. She sent ME a thank you card for being thoughtful. Now I know that I felt especially touched, but I also believe that there was something in it for her. I believe that she was more able to see and feel the threads that are the connections between us all because of her own act of kindness. I know this from my own experiences, especially in grief. When I’m at my most raw, I make myself even more vulnerable and open to the full human experience when I find the space to be kind to someone else.
I know I’m biased, but I really can’t think of a time where being kind isn’t gonna help me, too.
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 in the shadows,