How much does it take to be kind to someone? How much does it cost to be compassionate?
With everything going on in the world today, it can be incredibly difficult to see the good in a lot of things. Too often we are quick to express our anger and our disdain for others. We get into fights with each other over politics, we think the worst of people when they don’t say “thank you” after holding the door open for them. Just the other day, I was discussing with a co-worker about an incident I encountered with someone. All I could think to say was, “what is wrong with people?” Then it hit me…I was asking the wrong question.
Kindness isn’t something new. In fact, Aristotle said, “It is the characteristic of the magnanimous man to ask no favor but to be ready to do kindness to others.” So why is it that a concept thousands of years old is so hard for us to find? I believe a lot of it is has to do with our perception of the world. If all we hear about is unkind things, then we begin to believe the world is unkind. It is hard to find light when there is nothing but darkness. Instead of dwelling on negative things, change your perspective. Begin to think more positive, do more positive things (both internally and externally), create the light in the dark room. The hard truth is that you can’t change people, but you can change yourself. And in by changing the way you think and how you act, it can create a positive ripple effect.
Case in point: instead of asking what was wrong with that person, I should have asked what was right with them. I didn’t stop to think about their story, why they are the way they are. One of the best things about being kind and compassionate is that it’s free! And not only is it free, but it actually gives back in amazing ways!
It is said that it takes 21 days to form a habit. I encourage everyone reading this to try to be kind for 30 days. Not only to others, but to yourself. Try simple things like holding the door for someone without expecting a “thank you”, pick up litter and trash, make small talk with a stranger, reconnect with an old friend, make new ones, compliment someone’s outfit, smile even when it seems impossible. All of these small things will eventually lead to big changes.