I have been trying to figure out how to write about this without sounding totally cliché. It is hard not too. I just looked at my Facebook feed and it is full of uplifting messages about being good and kind and words like precious and balance and wellbeing and all these mottos meant to lift us up or maybe motivate us. (Maybe I need to get a little more edgy with my FB feed!) And while I am kind of a closet sentimentalist, I like reading uplifting things too, on the sly, another side of me also kinda gags when I see all those posts. Gag not because I think all of my friends are super mushy or silly for posting these things but gag because I am trying hard to figure out what is going on that makes us feel like we need to express these words so often, in such abundance.
I read an article the other day talking about being intentionally kind. The author talks about how it is super hard for us to get out of bed every morning knowing that we are potentially going to face a fire storm of meanness and sadness that seems to dominate our daily lives. Naturally when you think and anticipate bad you work to protect yourself. The warrior shield goes up. It makes sense, no one wants to feel hurt or mean or pain. The author’s argument is that when we do this though, we lose our ability to reach out, to connect and to express the opposite of all that meanness to others. In a way we become so protected from the bad we unintentionally block out the good too and block ourselves from reflecting the good back to others. His thought is that instead of putting up the shell and playing dodge and block all day perhaps if we put our feet on the floor by the side of the bed every morning with the intention of being kind we would deflate the meanness and lessen its impact and lose the need for our armor.
So the challenge is to go a step further everyday, to not just talk about being kind but to intentionally act. And it isn’t about big huge acts of kindness, it is about the small things like saying good morning, please and thank you, listening to someone, smiling, doing small things that make someone happy or their life easier. It is about just being really nice to people, everyday. Giving something of yourself instead of locking up and protecting. I think this takes a lot of practice and that is where the intention thing really comes in. You have to think hard about being this way and you have to build new habits. Habits that are kind of like a life insurance policy.
A friend posted this video months ago and for me it is my intentional kindness reminder.
Larry Yang Article: Being Kind In Unkind Times http://huff.to/va6Jlu via @HuffPostRelig