In today’s world kindness seems to have gone by the wayside. All you have to do is scroll through social media or turn on the news to get a taste of harsh reality.
Where did kindness and compassion go? I was speaking to a neighbor the other day who is one of wisest, thoughtful people I know. He reminded me of the importantance of this human quality.
Today’s climate is so political and divisive, but when you zoom out and think about the human spirit, are you making decisions to help and better yourself, those around you and the planet for generations to come? Do you think your actions will generate positive progress for all? With all the negativity that surrounds us, it is easy to think your individual efforts may be for not; but what if you could make a difference? What if compassion was part of the answer?
So, how do we live a life of compassion? After some thought and plenty of digging a few themes came up.
- Love. Living and acting from a place of love limits negative behaviors and poor choices that erupt from hate. Pain is all around us, along with grief, desperation, loss, stress, worry, and suffering, but when you change your perception, your view, your glasses so to speak, and the filter of your experience is love, life looks and fells different. Your thoughts are different, your actions are different. For example, if your kid keeps interrupting your work day – instead of blowing your top and screaming – mommy is working!! Go play! You could use that love filter and think, okay, they want to be near me and share their day with me, how do I meet their needs and handle work needs so we can all enjoy the day?
- Responsibility. When we take responsibility for our actions and hold ourselves accountable for our behaviors, we find discipline, and through discipline intrinsic reward. It feels good to participate in actions that bring positive progress to your environment and the world around you. Living in the present and owning your mistakes versus placing blame elsewhere or complaining about things changes your perspective putting you in control of your life. For example, if you want to lose weight, log what is going into your body and track movement and exercise. Then you can make evidence-based decisions on calories in and out and hold yourself accountable. By adding an extra walk or cutting out dessert you can feel good that you are getting closer to your goals versus continuing to do the same thing and face continued disappointment.
- Compassion. Feeling the hurt alongside others, going out of your way to help others – just because your heart wants to help – or practicing empathy can ferociously change the pain the receiving person experiences and dually – your ability to show compassion. Life is hard, and most people feel so alone, especially now in this pandemic, but when people can share in your human experience, it offers comfort, peace and a path to healing. That may mean listening to a friend vent, eating a meal with someone who is alone, buying a meal for a person in need without judgement, or doing something for others with no expectation of reciprocity.
To move from a place of good intentions versus distrust is a tall order especially for those suffering, but what if we all stopped living from a place of fear (perhaps from time to time right now – the world is crazy) and thought what’s one thing I could do today to be a light for someone else? How could I release a burden, carry a load, or simply tell someone how awesome they are…how meaningful their relationship is to you, how talented they are, or how thankful you are for their support and love?
What if you called and told them you were thinking of them…did a video chat since we can’t stop by…sent them a text or email…mailed a card….bragged about them on social media. Thoughts are meaningless until put into action. One small action ignites another and so on and so on. How can you bring your positive love and energy into the world?
I want to acknowledge a YouTube Spin Instructor, Kristina Girod, who is a light for me throughout the week. I am blessed to have an exercise bike at home and watch YouTube videos of spin classes to get my sweat on throughout the week. Her daily messages of community, compassion, strength and good vibes brings me joy. She brings kindness to the world. We all have that light inside…waiting to shine. How will you shine kindness and compassion today?