If you've been feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, kindness has the power to lighten your load. It can clear your mind and make room for more joy. I've profoundly changed the way I live by reverting to kindness, always.
It can be easy to become distracted, deterred, and defeated with our busy schedules and endless obligations. For this reason, I am delighted to share some ways that you can add more kindness into your life as well as how it can change your life. Here's how to protect, nurture, and more effectively tap into one of your most powerful innate abilities:
1. Acknowledge the power of kindness.
In my experience, kindness is so very, very powerful. I personally get so excited when I see someone smile big, sometimes I think about the last time I smiled...you know, the kind of smile that cramps up your cheeks.
2. Kindness can help you get what you want.
It's all in the question and whether your question was framed in a kind way. Take these two scenarios, in which the goal is to move a log:
Scenario 1: "Hello, Lillian, if you do not move that log there will be hell to pay, and on top of that, I will not look at you the same. I will actually think less of you."
Scenario 2: "Hello, Lillian, I just wanted to let you know that I think that you are one of the best people if not the best person in the world to move that log. I have really watched your work and I have learned that this is really the case…you're great at moving logs. I would be overjoyed if you may be able to move that log for me."
Now imagine you need to ask someone to do something for you, or on your behalf: essentially, a favor. Which scenario do you think would get the best response? Which one would you prefer to be addressed with? What is awesome about Scenario 2 is not only are you more likely to get the task completed, but the quality in which the task is completed will most likely be better. This can be applied to both you and when you are working with others.
3. Being kind to yourself can reduce stress.
Studies done on stress and health2 continue to show that chronic anxiety can have an physiological impact. Many negative thoughts and stress in general can manifest themselves in physical ailments. When we take care of ourselves through movement, proper nourishment, and well-being from a place of love and positivity, we reduce our anxiety and its effects.
Begin to label the emotion behind your actions: Are you acting out of fear? Fear of losing a job, fear of not impressing someone, or even the fear of the unknown? Once you have labeled your emotions, note those that come from negativity and replace them with kindness and speak words of empowerment and remind yourself that you are able and that you are in fact all right.
Move in love when dealing with yourself—remember: You are enough, so there is no reason to be fearful only taking action if you wish for a different result.
Take the time to treat yourself to things that add to your happiness. Whether it is a gift to yourself, a favorite healthy dish, or time spent with friends. Whenever you have a negative thought, something that makes you feel drained and defeated, practice redirecting and remind yourself that you are able. This is a fact, and replacing worry with positive facts will empower as well as enable kindness toward self.
This may take practice, but the energy cultivated as well as the shift in your outlook on life will make room for you to accomplish even more. The impact of stress can be traced back to multiple diseases, like type 2 diabetes3, for example. The power of kindness is one of the greatest gifts that you can give yourself to extend your life, avoid diseases, and live more joyfully day to day.
4. Your kindness has a ripple effect.
You never know who you're inspiring. Once you feel taken care of—for you, by you—take the same gentle approach when dealing with others. Try putting yourself in that person's shoes. Once you do, you will literally see where they are coming from and you will act as you would if addressing a good friend or loved one.
If you are in the position of trying to influence others to be their best selves whether you are a manager or an older sibling, the power of kindness knows no bounds.
When in a position of influence, always look at ways that you can share your vision of that person's greatness and potential. In doing this you are able to inspire, empower, and create a kind environment, where all feel great.
All of these suggestions are simple shifts in how you approach yourself or someone else. Give them a try, and see how powerful kindness can be.