What’s kindness got to do with it?

“What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness.”

– Jean Jacques Rousseau

What is kindness? By definition, it is to be affectionate, loving, sympathetic, helpful. Oh…but it is so much more than that! Kindness is a stepping stone to personal serenity; a path to your ultimate success and happiness! (Yes, yes, today I am an idealist, what can I say?!)

Here’s the kicker though, I’m not talking about receiving kindness, but giving it. And, giving it without caveat, exception, or, and this is the most important part, expectation. That’s right…being kind for the sake of kindness alone. Not because you expect kindness in return or because you believe in karma, but because it’s just the right thing to do.

Ah yes, I know what you might be thinking, and you’re right…there is no unselfish good deed! We are kind because it feels good. Heck, it feels great!

Of course, some people are kind by nature and others must work at it.

Ok, now, I’m talking to those of you who have covered your emotions in armor; those of you who have discarded any notion that you are “in the mood” for kindness of any kind. You just don’t need to be bothered with it!

Having worked in a non-profit, serving a myriad of personalities for more than a decade, I know your type. You approach with a scowl…a warning that you are not to be messed with. You show indifference…a sign that you don’t care what I think of you. Then, after some time of being smothered in my cheery disposition you loosen up, you relax your face; you might even crack a half smile. And then, when all is said and done, you give me a hug! Not some wimpy back-patting hug, but a full on embrace!

And let me tell you, I feel rather accomplished! I’m on cloud nine! You have allowed kindness in! I’ve done my job, not only as a non-profit employee, but more importantly, as a human being! I go home feeling happy and successful. That is what kindness can do!

If you’ve been on the receiving end of unkind words or actions, it isn’t easy to muster the strength or courage to show kindness to those you may think are undeserving. But that is exactly when kindness is needed the most.

“Kindness begets kindness.” It’s a proverb that has stood the test of time for a reason. Kindness is contagious. Kindness may not change THE world, but it sure can change YOURS, and the next person’s, and the next person’s…you get the idea!

Feeling inspired? Here are ten tiny acts of kindness you can do today!

(1) Say “I love you” to someone you love.

(2) Share that compliment you may be thinking, but keeping to yourself.

(3) Buy a sandwich for a homeless person.

(4) Offer a sincere smile and greeting to a stranger.

(5) Say “I’m sorry” when you are wrong.

(6) Write a letter to the special people in your life, telling them what they mean to you.

(7) Listen (really listen) to someone in need.

(8) Forgive someone a debt – and never bring it up again.

(9) Show patience to those who need it most.

(10) Slow down and be mindful of those around you.

“No Act of Kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

– Aesop

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