Life December 19, 2020

The Art of Kindess

With the Holidays around the corner and our world going into uncertain times I was thinking about how these last two years have really changed the way I interacted with people and what I observed behaviors from others. I have been fortunate enough to have the support of my friends and family during some of the hardest obstacles I’ve ever had to face. One of the toughest being a single mother, losing jobs, and being afraid for my kid’s health (like so many of us). But what I have noticed is the immense generosity and kindness from strangers and that really got me through it and about how just little acts of kindness can go an extremely long way.  We are all growing in the school of life and hopefully changing for the better. Here are 5 tips for kindness that you can do now.

  1. The Law of Forgiveness. This is a sacred law. In arguments whether ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, the holding of the grudge is doing damage to oneself. The bearer of any grudge is a heavy load to carry on the conscience. Call on the Law of Forgiveness, even if you can’t physically tell someone you forgive them you can make a declaration to yourself that you now forgive them for all the harm they did to you or others. It doesn’t mean you have to accept that person back in your life or excuse their behavior but you can make peace with yourself and let it go. In the Anguttara Nikaya, it says, “If you give birth to a grudge towards any person, cultivate loving-kindness towards that person…Thus, the grudge towards that person can be removed.” Just try this and you will see how much lighter you feel. Keep in mind that if you are not able to forgive how can you expect to be forgiven?
  2. Lend an Ear. We really don’t know about the lives and challenges of others. It’s easy for us to get wrapped up in our own world sometimes. But there are so many people out there that are struggling the same way that we are and worse. By all means, don’t be a doormat to people’s problems but sometimes just listening to someone tell their story could save a life. The challenge with this is to not listen with judgment, try and just be still and hear what they have to say. Foster their situation with encouragement and understanding. For every obstacle, there is a golden opportunity for growth. Give people the encouragement they need to see that and if you have any way to help them whether it be a resource or just TIME -do that. Finding compassion for others will bring immense spiritual value to your life.
  3. Criticism. It cuts deeper than physical wounds sometimes. Not to take away from the pain of physical abuse but criticizing someone can affect how they view themselves for the rest of their lives. I think even in minute situations at the workplace. If you are a person who is in a leadership position and you lack the patience to explain how someone is doing something wrong in a constructive manner then what does that say about you? Cutting someone up because they didn’t word something exactly how you wanted it or making them feel stupid for saying the wrong thing doesn’t give your employee confidence to succeed at your business and more often than not -they will fail you even more. If your co-worker has a question about how to do something don’t take the opportunity to make them feel inferior. Find your inner patience and calmly explain how it should be done. The goal is to build up your employees or coworkers in such a way as to work together and enjoy what you are trying to accomplish. The same goes for any relationship, really. Even in romantic relationships to criticize someone by saying, “They always do this _______” or “______can’t do anything right.” People can really take that to heart and it can lead to depression and even worse. Try and build people up and encourage them to learn and succeed in anything that they put their minds to. I’ve also had some really positive mentors in Real Estate who are always busy and always helping people because they have a lot to give. Their heart is open and wanting to teach in a fostering way. If you are surrounded by people who are energy vampires and sucking your ability to feel confident then I suggest just cutting them out. Bless them and leave the door of opportunity open to be filled with people who will lift you up.
  4. Community Acts of Kindness. During the first part of lockdown, I was in bad shape. I had lost my job and had a small baby to provide for. I didn’t have a car and I couldn’t take him on the subway because well…Covid. My neighbors and my landlord in particular were so kind. We started to share food meaning that if someone was going grocery shopping, they would get food for me. Not only that but my landlord didn’t even make me feel bad or get angry at me because I couldn’t make rent in those months. I eventually paid him back and you know what he did? He got me central air and a washer and dryer. Now that might seem like a normal thing to have in other parts of the country but in Brooklyn, it’s really a luxury. This also happened because my neighbor upstairs was getting chemotherapy (thus a compromised immune system) during the first part of lockdown and he was having to do laundry at the laundry mat down the street. My landlord saw him and decided to take his money and buy our washing machines. This is kindness. I want to give a big shout-out in particular to my friend Michelle who started a company that gives free food to people in Philadelphia. She got the idea and started placing community fridges outside where people could donate fruits and vegetables and anyone could take from if they needed it. Look her up! Her Company is called Mama-Tee’s Fridges and the company is exploding. Remember a person who has friends will never go hungry. If you have, give. Even if it’s an extra tip to the person pumping your gas, think about what struggles they had to go through to accept a job like that.
  5. Easily Divided, Easily conquered. The division in this country and the media has got to stop. The more divided we are the more easily we give up rights in fear. All of this hate and “he said, she said” negativity is really disastrous to creativity. People spouting off that, “This person is that way,” etc… and all online fighting takes away from your inner peace. Your inner ability to be creative in a constructive way. If you think of your brain like a computer it can be programmed the same way. I suggest being careful what you watch because the media will program you for anger and lack. If you don’t believe me watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix.  To build a better world we have to stop looking at other people and (or even animals) as “them.” They are us and we are WHOLE. How are we supposed to build the sort of society that we want if everyone is fighting each other? We can’t. Every breathing being on this planet has a right to life. If we took all the time wasted on arguing and instead put that energy into fixing things -think how fast we could change this world! By coming up with a way for everyone to be provided for there would be no violence, no hate crimes, less drug and alcohol abuse, and no abuse to animals and the planet. Stop feeding your energy into division. Think if we could just come from a place of kindness how much better life would be.

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