I saw a THOUGHT today that made me think.
What I saw reminded me to “Be Kinder Than You Have To.”
Wow! Did that struck a chord with me and it got me thinking. How does one Be Kinder Than They Have To? Are there minimum levels of kindness that are expected? Is there a norm of kindness? Is there a minimum number of times per day that kindness is expected of us? Do we look for it or does it find us? Is kindness based on the intent of the giver or on the perception of the receiver?
And what does kindness entail, anyway? Is it looking out for “the other” and putting them before yourself? Does it mean handing over your money to someone who needs it more than you do? Maybe it is just recognizing the deeds of others and commenting on them. Or does it mean choosing your words carefully or holding your tongue to the point that it bleeds?
The dictionary defines kindness as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. It sounds as good a place to start as any. For me, the being friendly and generous parts are much easier than the considerate aspect. More often than I would like, my voice rings with harshness, or I flip off the driver who cut me off. I slam the phone down on the teller marketer who has disrupted my day for the fourth time instead of just saying “no thank you.” Yes, that being considerate aspect to life is going to get me turned away from the pearly gates without a doubt.
In an effort to honor the idea of Being Kinder Than You Have To I decided to give myself a reminder list of things that I could do on a regular basis that just might embody that philosophy. Here goes:
- Instead of just tipping the restroom attendant also tell her that her bathroom must be the cleanest in the entire city and just how much you appreciate being able to plop your butt down on a seat so clean you could eat off of it.
- Keep McDonalds gift cards in your wallet and hand them out to those in need.
- Ask your elderly neighbor if there is anything you can do for them
- Send your kids teachers a card telling them how much you appreciate what they do for your child.
- Spend a couple of hours volunteering at a place that needs one-on-one interaction
- The next time someone cuts you off get out of your car and hand them a McDonalds card instead of giving them the finger.
- Do your kids chore
- Give your spouse a massage.
- Give a bigger tip than your server deserved.
- Feed the parking meters of others
- Bye a big bouquet of flowers and hand stems out to strangers
- Shovel your neighbors driveway
- Send a text to a loved one giving them an example of why you appreciate them instead of just telling them that you love them
- Write a REAL letter instead of sending a text or email. It is something they can hold in their hands and look at when they are feeling down
- Hand out balloons to strangers just because you can
- Throw out a little extra birdseed to our feathered friends
- Each day message a different friend you have on Facebook and tell them what you like about them
- Go through and label all those people in the zillion pictures that you have. Believe me your relatives will appreciate it in the future and will nominate you for sainthood.
- The next kid who passes you on the street…give him a buck.
- Practice biting your tongue two or three times a day.
- Make your spouses favorite dinner
- When sending your loved ones out into the cold cruel world instead of just saying have a good day go over and give them a big long hug,
- Pick up someone else’s litter
- Give up your seat to someone who needs it more than you do
- A heartfelt smile can do wonders for someone’s soul
- Let that mother with the three out of control kids go ahead of you in the checkout line. She just wants to get home and put the little boogers to bed.
- Pray for someone if you are so inclined
- Put a thank-you note on someone’s car.
- Pay for the person’s coffee behind you
- Say something nice to the person in the wheelchair
- Talk to someone who doesn’t look the least bit like you
- Forgive someone and let them know it
So there you go. A list to promote kindness is born and in doing so it is my hope that all of us will be reminded to BE KINDER THAN YOU HAVE TO at least once per day. Just imagine if everyone did that what a truly different and exciting place this world would be!