These days, I have been thinking about this powerful and life-changing word. I know that coming across with many great stories about kindness is not casual, like The Courage to be kind by
Glenna Gill, that reinforced everything that is going on in my mind.
I have always considered myself a kind person, but looking backward, I was slowly losing my kindness while the years passed by.
My kindness faded to my desire to be perfect.
Last year, I shattered every belief about the person that I thought that I should be and fell in love with my imperfections, that allowed me to admire anybody else’s imperfections.
I took an instant kindness-pill when I realized that everybody (including me) is the same pile of virtues and flaws.
We are different, but we share a balance of good and not so good qualities.
Being right is being unkind
If we think about it, we can’t help to want to have the last word.
Whenever we see anybody making a mistake or confusing bits of information, we instantly jump to correct them.
Even if we do it from a compassionate place (we want to teach what we know), telling anybody that he or she is wrong (especially, in front of the group), will make them feel ashamed.
But why do we always want to be right?
Why do we always seek perfection?
Why are we so capable of detecting wrong stuff when there is so much right stuff to focus on?
What do we win when we prove others wrong?
I am guilty of wanting to be right. I never thought about it until last week. To me, trying to be right (and having the last word), was the obvious attempt.
Now, I am in a catching-myself-mode to stop this behavior. Since day one, I noticed the profound shift that this brings to my life.
I am more willing to listen to comprehend instead of doing it to answer (something that I have been trying very hard to accomplish for months). When you really listen, your mind becomes curious about new possibilities.
When you really listen, you pay attention to the feelings and emotions of others. When you really listen, you allow true empathy to flow through your heart.
When you really listen, you can be kind enough to shut up.
If you prove yourself right, you might win an argument, but you can hurt somebody else or, even worst, lose a friend.
Kindness holds hands with empathy.
You may think that I think a lot of good stuff about myself, but nurturing my empathy has been my primary growth-goal since I can remember.
I am guessing that I was born with it and it brings me so much joy that I couldn’t help to want to be more empathic every day.
But I had it all wrong. I didn’t need to be more empathic. I needed to be less judgemental, stubborn and know-it-all.
Reading, learning, and growing every day may make us feel more prepared to teach, but not everybody wants or needs to be taught.
There is where my empathic system was failing.
Yes, I was easily able to put myself in anybody else’s shoes, but at the same time, I thought that I could also know what they wanted and act upon it.
Even when I was trying to understand people that I don’t completely like, my focus was on how they could be nicer instead of comprehending that I am not the one to say that they are not nice enough.
Empathy also is letting go of our need to change the world. It is letting go of our ideas about how everything and everybody should be.
Thinking in action: always be kind
Have you ever been driving your car while complaining about the slow person in front of you that is blocking your plans to arrive fast?
Have you ever gotten into a fight with your loved ones because they want to control you?
Have you ever been hurt and reacted the worst way (hurt back)?
We all have. And probably, we all know how regreting about our reactions feel. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we deal with it.
The sentence “always be kind” is now my mantra to help me control my reactions. As soon as I get mad, I feel the trigger to repeat those holy words in my mind. I can’t tell you how good it works.
I don’t know why, but those three words are exactly what I need to control my intense emotions.
Even if I lose my temper (it happens sometimes, I am not perfect) I can say how sorry I am and accept my over-reactivity. There are times when I am right, and I don't need to say sorry, but I feel the need to apologize because I wasn’t empathic enough just to listen.
One of my wildest dreams is to be a speed-race driver, and I have a particular allergy to slow drivers. Life has an interesting way to teach us, so, I get the slowest drivers ahead of me. It is karma.
Kindness is my only remedy.
My mom used to be fearful of riding with me, but now she hardly recognizes my driving style. It is funny because these days, she still curses every slow driver and doesn’t understand why I don’t do it anymore.
I am profoundly proud of overcoming my driving craziness.
Collecting the fruits
When you commit with kindness, you also commit to being kind to yourself. Always.
When you commit with kindness, you find the joy of giving with your whole heart.
When you commit with kindness, you will experience waves of love that don’t compare to anything else.
We will all eventually die, and we won’t take anything to our grave, the only thing that will matter is how we made others feel.
I am not suggesting that you should be a people-pleaser, I am suggesting kindness even when it is time to say no.
Mostly, it is not about what we say, but about how we say it. We can make a little effort to make our point across with hand-picked words that don’t suggest anything but respect and kindness.
If we all learn to be kind, we will leave future generations the life that they deserve.
If we keep dismissing kindness over rightness, we will kill each other before our grandchildren arrive.
Source: Carla Tugues
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