“You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.” – Cheryl Strayed
Let’s face it, it’s sometimes damn hard to be kind.
To forgive somebody who’s hurt us.
To be vulnerable and open with people. Whether it be in our closest relationships, with our colleagues at work or with people we hardly know.
Being kind sometimes means opening our heart a little bit more when we want to scowl and dismiss another person because we’re in a bad mood or we just don’t like them.
Forgiving means we have to let go of our ego. The one that’s screaming, “They don’t deserve my forgiveness! If I forgive them I’m saying that what they did to me was OK.”
Being emotionally brave means being authentic.
It means stepping outside our comfort zone and revealing things about ourselves that other people may judge.
It’s the willingness to be truthful about how we really feel even if it means hurting someone or worse yet, getting hurt ourselves.
But doing all of these things expands us. It forces us to step outside our comfort zone, put aside our bad mood or own problems and STRETCH.
It pushes us to do things we may not necessarily want to do in order to take the high road. Which trust me is always the better route to take and one you’ll never look back on with regret!
When we can find ways to bring kindness, compassion and generosity into our daily lives, not only do we stretch and grow…
But so do others because of us.
Random acts of kindness have a domino effect on the world. People are moved by another human being’s kindness towards them.
When someone does something loving and kind for us… when they acknowledge us for who we are, for something we’ve done, for how we show up in our relationships, it makes us want to do more of it.
It inspires us to spread it around because we feel so damn good about ourselves.
When someone asks me for a favor that I don’t have the time to do or asks me for something I may not have to give, my first thought is often
My next thoughts are often a kaleidoscope of images… a brilliantly colored slide show of all the times in my own life somebody did me a favor when I asked.
A time when another person went out of their way to help me when I needed it most.
Or a time that someone gave me a “free pass” when I was having a bad day and behaved in ways totally out of character for me.
So you know what? I say yes a lot more.
I say yes to people with enthusiasm and desire and the knowledge that my “yes” might spread light to another person and another and in turn, spread more loving kindness into the world.
I’ve started a practice of doing what I can for people when I’m given the opportunity.
I show up even when I’m tired.
I show up even when I just don’t want to because I know people count on me or that me being there means something to them.
I’ve lent friends money even when I felt I hardly had enough myself.
I let the petty stuff go. I don’t hold grudges or expect the people in my life to be perfect or never screw up. None of us is perfect and we all screw up. That’s part of being human.
Kindness, compassion, forgiveness and generosity… these are things that multiply the more we put it out into the world.
What we give to another person often inspires them to do the same for someone else. And the dominoes start to fall.
We underestimate the power of a smile. Or giving someone a compliment.
We sometimes don’t realize the difference we make when we offer to help someone who didn’t even ask or listen to another person’s struggles who just needed an ear.
It changes lives. It changes how people go about their day and treat each other. Can you imagine how different our world would be if we each pushed ourselves just a little bit more each day to do these simple acts of kindness?
Because that whole karmic flow is always in motion. What we put out into the world always comes back to us.
So I challenge you today to be kind.
I challenge you to push past your own discomfort of telling somebody how you feel with no attachment to their response.
I challenge you to forgive someone who hurt you.
It will grow you. It will create expansion. It will awaken you and open your eyes to what’s possible in the world with one small act.
It has the possibility to change our world in ways that will multiply into an epidemic if we keep the momentum going.
I absolutely love what Scott Morrison had to say about what we all need to do if we truly want to be happy:
“Pay attention and be unconditionally kind, on this breath alone. Forget about the future. Just this breath. No matter what the circumstances, just be kind. Friend, lover, family member, someone who seems to hate you, someone you’ve never met on the street, your own soft animal body. Just be kind, in whatever way is appropriate.
Everything else will work itself out, and you will begin to sense your own pure heart everywhere. How amazing. Very simple. Just be kind. Only on this breath. “