10 simple ways to start kind living…

August 20, 2010

It was the biggest lesson of the year for this girl. You’ll probably laugh but it was a total ephiphany to me. Kindness isn’t just something we do, it’s a way of life. It’s more than missions, strangers, and “trying”…when we practice it, it has the power to take over and find it’s way into every part of us, even the places we are guarding. Sometimes though, it’s hard to know where to start, what do you do?

Here are a few ideas of ways you can invite kindness into your everyday life. Some of these thing you might already do and others may feel like a stretch, either way, take what serves you and please add your ideas in the comment section.

1. Talk to a stranger. Oh, the stranger stories I could tell you! Stepping out of ourselves and engaging someone we don’t know often allows kindness to unfold, sometimes the simple act of listening is kindness itself. It may be someone you even see everyday, a neighbor, the checkout girl, an elderly man, someone waiting in the bank teller line. Offer to hold a door, or a pen, a skip in line, or a simple, “How’s your day going?” are good icebreakers.

2. Figure out which side you need to start on. To fully understand and experience kindness, you need to figure out which side you need to be on, giving or receiving, both are equally as important. If you tend to be a giver, it might be time to try on saying yes when someone offers to help, or no to the latest commitment put before you. You “givers” know what I’m talking about, opportunities are around every corner. Receiving can be difficult for this kind of soul but really important to widen your scope of kindness.
If you are often on the receiving end, now is great moment to be intentional in your kindness growth. Start with something simple like offer to do the dishes, or leave someone you care about a treat for them to find. Pick something every day to do, big or small, just be conscious about it and let the kindness high come.

3. Play, play, play. Some of the best kindness is rooted in play. When we stand in a place of joy, we unlock our desire to extend it and share with all around. When was the last time you played tag, sang super loud in your car, had a pillow/tickle fight, rode in a go-kart, went ridiculously high on a swing, danced in your living room? If you can’t remember, bump this right to the top of your kindness priority list. This is particularly important with kids, play is a way directly into the hearts of children. If you want to be kind to a kid, play together. The sillier the better.

4. Make an acts of kindness list or jar. Often times, we are sitting in kindness and have absolutely no idea. Becoming aware of the kindness already happening invites even more and is habit forming. The kids in my son’s preschool class were having a particularly hard year being kind and respectful to each other when the teachers decided to keep an acts of kindness list. The kids were agents looking for kindness already happening and would report for the acts to be added to the list. The room started to fill with lists, it might have been the loveliest thing I have ever seen. Create a list on your fridge or write the acts on strips of paper and put in a jar to be read each week. You’ll be amazed by what happens.

5. Return to nature. Nothing rearranges my soul than picking a fresh berry, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, being in a field, low to the ground or in a forest of bushes melts me on multiple levels. The only thing better is when I get to be the delivery girl after and share nature’s goodness. A close second is hiking with my kids to our favorite part of the river, watching them play for hours while I piddle in the water calf deep. Fresh air, green things, the sun on your face and breeze at your back is the universe’s kindness to us. When we are connected to our senses in a deep, old way, we return to the most basic kindness. We are then inspired to care for both the earth and each other.

…to be cont.

5 Responses to “10 simple ways to start kind living…”

  1. girl! these pics are gorgeous!!

  2. laura Says:

    wow – thank you – awesome post! i really needed this…

  3. Amber Says:

    Wow, I am definitely a ‘giver’, and you just blew my mind with #2. I think my husband tries to tell me this constantly. And yet, I take on way too much. Maybe I need to let myself be on the receiving end of some kindness.

    Wowzers, I am still reeling. But in a really good way.

  4. coley Says:

    reading #4 i remembered one year i substitute taught…. no teaching background mind you ……….. i got stuck with middle school remedial english for 8 weeks! i used a “do something” curriculum which included learning vocabulary like kindness/honor/responsiblity/etc. and showing acts of kindness. it became a school wide contest to show random acts of kindness……… students had to write a note of acts that they recieved or watched other students doing. we kept score through the homerooms. the response was amazing!! all these middle school kids were trying to out nice each other! 🙂

    thank you for the ideas and encouragement.

    happy thursday.

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