Kindness Is A Muscle...So Flex It!

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Kindness Is A Muscle...So Flex It!

Kindness Is A Muscle...So Flex It!

By Jennifer Neil

Kindness is a muscle that becomes stronger every time you use it. Here are a few simple suggestions to put it into practice:

1. Think before you speak. This is something everyone thinks they do and oftentimes forget - especially in a challenging or stressful situation. This goes for face-to-face conversations as well as emailing and texting. To practice kindness, think about the tone of your voice, the words you’re choosing, and the “why.”  What’s the purpose of your message? Watch what happens if you take a moment to really challenge yourself to find goodness in every situation – instead of pointing out the negative, reframe the situation to highlight the opportunity. Thinking before you speak is like the brief pause we take in gymnastics before a big pass. It’s the extra moment that provides clarity.

2. Respond to negative with positive. When someone is being critical or hurtful, we have a tendency to fight back with more of the same. Then the negativity escalates. But there’s real power in kindness. As a part of any organization or team of people, it is important to respect everyone’s point of view and work to find a solution that was best for the group.

3. Don't forget to be kind to YOURSELF. We spend so much time evaluating our relationships with others that we often forget to look inward. If you’re beating yourself up about the way you look, or your capabilities, it’s harder to be nice to others. 

4. Be genuine. Kindness is about caring genuinely for others around you, wanting the best for them, and realizing they have the same wants, needs, aspirations, and even fears that you have too.

5. Don't be kind for the sake of getting what you want. Simply being nice to other people because you believe that this will manipulate them into giving you what you want in life, or as a means of controlling them, is not kindness. Nor is kindness about pretending to care for someone all the while repressing anger or contempt; hiding our rage or frustration behind false pleasantries is not kindness.

6. Learn from others. Think about the truly kind people in your life and how they make you feel. What are they doing? How do they speak to you? Follow their example - the more you do it, the more it will become a part of who you really are. 

7. Be kind for your health.  Improved psychological health and happiness comes from thinking more positively and kindness is a positive mental state. While kindness is about giving and being open to others, giving kindness returns a sense of well-being and connection to us that improves our own mental state and health.

8. Be kind to "others" - not just those who are "in need". It's easy to be kind to those people we feel are truly in need (the sick, the poor, the vulnerable, and those who align with our own ideals). Being kind to people close to us, emotionally (like family or friends) or in other ways (from the same country, of the same color, gender etc.), is also easier than being kind to "others" who are just ilke us. It can be more difficult to be kind to people we may consider our equals, but it will be worth it.

9. Don't be judgemental. If you're judgmental, prone to gossip, or just always bad-mouthing the people around you, you'll always have to work harder at kindness. Being kind means giving people the benefit of the doubt instead of expecting perfection.

Stop judging people and realize that you'll never fully understand where they're coming from unless you walk a day in their shoes. Focus on wanting to help others instead of judging them for not being better than they are.

So flex your kindness muscle every day. The real power of kindness is that when you practice it, it rubs off on others and can cause an incredible ripple effect. If you’re on a team, your team will be better. Your relationships with friends and family will improve and, most importantly, you’ll feel better.

#YStrongBham  

Posted by Loyd McIntosh at 9:49 AM
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