The Habit of Being Kind

The Habit of Being Kind from One Loaf of Bread

Several weeks ago I was in the frozen food section of a large warehouse. As I started to open the door to retrieve some frozen vegetables large boxes of food started falling toward me. Some of the items were on the floor and some were stuck in the door.

I found myself holding the freezer door shut. If I let go of the door I could see that more items would fall to the ground.

Immediately another shopper rushed over to help me. As we tried to pick up the items and stop the avalanche I looked around at the other shoppers who were just standing around staring at us. No one else offered to help. They were not rushing off to do other things – they were just standing there watching. . .

Finally a worker came to our aid to help us move the food back into the freezer. He explained that he had been using a fork lift to move the food behind the freezer doors and he had pushed forward just a little bit too far.

After this incident I started thinking about what causes us to act. Are we willing to be kind only when we have control or if we see a reward attached to the act? Do we do random acts of kindness for a few days during the year and then forget about them the rest of the year?

I’m starting a personal project to work on developing the Habit of Being Kind. A habit is something that we do without even thinking about it (just like the shopper who rushed to help me in the store). A habit becomes easier the more that we do it.

Practice KINDNESS 365 days a year

Here are a few things I have found that make it easier to be kind.

Showing Kindness Does Not Have to be Difficult
Being kind does not have to be a huge project that takes hours of planning. It can be as simple as a smile, holding a door open for someone or responding to someone in line at the grocery store.

Make it a Habit
It helps to start small by setting a goal to do at least one kind thing every day. Practice makes it easier and we become stronger in the process. Over time it becomes a positive habit and something that can be done without even thinking.

Show Appreciation
It helps to be PRESENT in life. This means paying attention to everything around you. This is as simple as putting down a mobile phone and actually making eye contact with the person bagging the groceries. It is saying “thank you” and listening.

Mean it
Finally, it is important for us to actually mean what we are saying and doing. If life is lived every day with an intention of contributing something positive then it becomes a way of life. We can be assigned projects to be kind, but it is so much more worthwhile if we actually mean what we are saying and doing.

Are you willing to join me on this journey of practicing kindness 365 days a year?

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5 Free and Easy Ways to Show Kindness

5-ways-to-show-kindness

January is a good time to think about ways we can continue to be kind.

“Wait!” you may say.  “I’ve just spent the last two months baking endless treats for friends and neighbors, volunteering at the community center, doing sub-for-santa and shoveling snow for my neighbor.  I’m tired!”

The majority of individuals showing kindness increases dramatically during the months of November and December.  It’s wonderful to see all of the amazing things people have been doing to help others.  This doesn’t mean it has to stop!  It also does not mean that it has to  take a lot of extra time or effort to be kind.

Being kind should continue every month of the year and if done consistently over time it becomes a habit! 

Following are 5 Free and Easy Ways to Show Kindness:

1. Put down the phone

Have you ever been waiting in line and the cashier is delayed because the person in front of you is chatting on his phone?

Think about how much better we would all feel if we respected other people’s space, made eye contact, smiled and interacted more.

2.  Be courteous to others in line

After the holidays long lines continue as individuals return gifts.  Have you noticed there is always at least one person in line who lets everyone know how upset he is having to wait even though there are many patient individuals ahead of him who have been standing in line longer?  I used to get frustrated with lines, but now I use the time to talk with others in line or I simply take a deep breath, slow down and think about all of the things I am grateful for.

3.  Be the person who returns the shopping cart . . .to the right place

Obviously there are several people who abandon their shopping carts in the parking lot next to their car.  There are others who make an effort to return their carts but they do not push them all of the way to the end of the rack.  I’ve often wondered who that second person is who pushes his cart into the first cart but does not push both carts to the end. Whenever I return my cart I make an effort to push the line of carts forward to make room for others but sometimes the line of carts is so heavy that it is virtually impossible to move.  In a busy store like Costco, the carts end up blocking traffic – all because one person did not take a couple of extra steps to push his cart forward and make room for others.  Be kind to others and properly return the shopping cart (plus you get extra steps on your Fitness Tracker!  It’s a win-win!)

4.  Be a polite driver.  Enough said.

5.  Be kind to yourself

Sometimes we are so busy helping others that we do not leave enough time for ourselves.  In order to continue to have energy to help others you have to take care of yourself!  Block negative self-talk and focus on all of the positive things in your life.  Eat healthy food, make restful sleep a priority, take a few extra deep breaths (and steps) and do at least one thing every day that you love to do.

Being kind is an ongoing project!  It would be nice to keep the wonderful parts of the holiday in our lives year-round!

Thank you for your kindness!

Continue to share this important message!

 

 

 

 

Amazing Compliments

Sometimes we are busy and we forget to tell others how much they mean to us. See what happens in this video when individuals are given the opportunity to GIVE compliments and RECEIVE them.

Do it in a Dress – The Power of the Girl Effect

educate girls in africa

“66 Million Girls Around the World Will Never Get the Chance to Go to School Simply Because They Were Born a Girl.”

Chantelle Baxter, cofounder of One Girl is on a quest to raise money to help girls have the opportunity to receive an education.

“A girl born in Sierra Leone, West Africa is more likely to be RAPED than she is to go to high school”

In this TEDx talk, Chantelle describes how she was inspired to start a campaign to help girls.  So far they have raised over $1 million.  The current campaign “Do it in a Dress” (October and November) encourages girls to wear their school uniforms in various activities to raise money simply to allow a girl to attend school.

Chantelle was recently featured on Today, Australia.

Aussie Charity Takes on Gender Inequality

I hope sites like this continue to inspire you to find ways to give back and help others.  One Girl is a simple idea that is creating what Chantelle calls the “Girl Effect”.  For every year a girl stays in school she has the ability to earn 10-25% more.  This has a ripple effect in her family, the community and eventually the country.

What can you do to help your local community?

How can you create a ripple effect?