Are You a Kind Person? Always?
Would you consider yourself a kind person? I’m guessing that you said yes. So have you ever done or said anything unkind, even just a little? I’m guessing that you probably said yes again (unless you are a perfect person).
Think of a recent example. What was it about the situation that caused you to be unkind? Did you run out of patience because you were exhausted, struggling with a horrible headache, or incredibly stressed? Or maybe the other person said something that triggered you?
I know there’ve been times when I’ve felt hurt by someone. They might have been making fun of me by pointing out a mistake I’d made. They might even have meant to tease, but it hit a nerve. My defense might be to hurt them back by saying something not very nice about them.
So what can we do to be kinder and avoid those times when we’re not? Here are two approaches that have helped me.
1. Remember that we’re all imperfect humans. The older I get, the more I learn that we all have our triggers, our baggage, our wounds, and our desire to defend ourselves and our beliefs. If we could see into people’s pasts or read their minds, we could better understand their sometimes unkind words or actions. And instead of feeling upset or triggered to lash back, we could feel more compassion, tolerance, and patience.
2. Keep our positivity battery charged. We not only need to take care of our physical needs, like sleep and food, but we also need to build our internal resources by adding more positivity to our lives. I’ve found that shifting our thinking away from our natural negative focus to also see the good is very powerful. This reduces our stress and builds our willpower so we have more capacity to pause, notice, and choose our response.
How about you? Could either or both of these approaches help you?