Kindness: The Key to Peace of Mind and a Happy Heart

“Three things in human life are important; the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”  Henry James

Here we are smack dab in the middle of a global pandemic. Quarantining, viral tracing, mask mandates, and hybrid learning fill our news feeds. To top it off, we’ve got rioting and protesting, wildfires, divisive political views, broadcasting sensationalism, and so much more. It’s all enough to make you want to cry.  

Kicking the Dog

With all of the negativity going on around us has anyone besides me noticed there seems to be an uptick in crabbiness out there? It’s like there’s an overabundance of Pig Pens (picture the  Snoopy character) walking around with a cloud of dust and bugs over their head.  

I’m suspecting that it’s a little “kicking the dog because I’m angry” syndrome…aka displaced anger. Specifically, it’s people directing these intensely uncomfortable times we’re in (COVID, rioting, the upcoming election, etc.) toward a less threatening target (you, me, the dog).

Spreading  the Love 

What if we all decided to take a step back from the madness and became agents of kindness instead of agents for crabbiness and hate? Did you know that spending only 1% of your waking hours focused on kindness could make a big impact?  It can!  

Let’s say that you wake up and decide you want to impact just three people for the day.  1% divided by your total waking hours would turn out to be a little less than 10 minutes spread between three people!  

That’s three connections → 10  minutes = lots of KINDNESS

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Mark Twain

Think of some people in your life you could spread a little kindness to.  Maybe it’s: 

  • a coworker
  • the Uber driver
  • a sales clerk
  • your spouse
  • your children
  • your mother in law
  • a student
  • a classmate
  • a neighbor
  • the mailman/UPS/FedEx/Amazon driver

Letting someone cut ahead of you in traffic, wheeling your neighbor’s trash bin to their garage, allowing the woman with small children to check out ahead of you at the grocery store, smiling at your crabby coworker, being kind in the face of ugliness, or simply holding a door for someone.  The possibilities are endless!

Kindness at home.  

Kindness in public.

Kindness to your enemies. 

Thoughts on Kindness

  • Kindness starts with being kind to yourself. Forgiving your faults, thinking of yourself as worthy, embracing your imperfections, laughing at your missteps, questioning the voices in your head that tell you you won’t amount to anything…these should all be priorities.  
  • Give to give. Not to get. Be kind out of the abundance of your heart, not because you are hoping to get something in return, or see your name in lights or receive the applause of an audience. 
  • Watch your kindness muscle grow. Think of kindness as if it’s a muscle. The more you show it, the more it will grow.  Start small and watch being kind to others get easier.  If you must, take baby steps and do one small, kind thing each day for someone. Then pay attention to the impact on you. What did it feel like? Are you noticing more opportunities to be kind?  Are you feeling lighter and more positive? 
  • Kindness sends cues. Kindness can create a domino effect. You show kindness and others want to mimic what you do. Don’t discount the example you’re sending your children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews when you are kind. Think monkey see-monkey do. 

Be the Change You Want to See

While this message may seem simple, being kind can be overlooked and hard sometimes. Let’s face it, during these very unsettling times we’ve all got a lot on our minds and hearts. We’re focused on staying healthy, following guidelines, remaining employed, homeschooling,  and so much more. Life.has.not.been.easy.  

But, the reality is that being mean, grumpy, and crabby will not change a single thing about what’s going on in the world.  Your attitude and actions will. Be the change you want to see around you. The key to peace of mind and a happy heart is kindness.  

“The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer someone else up.”  Mark Twain


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