Today, kindness was needed in the listening area. Sometimes I have my "kindness acts" all planned out so that I can try new things or just surprise people with love, but today, I was called to just be still and listen.
Listening is a kindness all it's own. It shows that you care. It shows that (like all the other acts of kindness) that you have nothing to gain, but you freely give your gift of time to someone else.
It's not about having the right advice. (Which is my automatic "go-to gut reaction... I'm a fixer.) It's not about fixing. Sometimes someone in your life just needs to share. Share their joys, their sorrows, their good news, and it's our job just to listen and support.
This is not the time to tell your own story. This is not the time to share a similar experience that happened to you. This is not the time to take away the limelight of their joy. It's the perfect time to be still and listen.
That was my kindness today, and the joy I felt first, in being honored that I am the one they chose to unburden to, relate to, and share good times with, cannot be expressed in words. I'm glad God reminds me from time to time that "it's not always about me". I am glad to have learned, finally, that it is okay not to have some all-knowing wisdom to pass on, or the need to "one-up" or even "one-down" someone else's joys and trials, but to just be the sounding board for someone else to share with.
I am always here for advice or council, but I am also here, just to be a friend. And it makes me happy to do either.
Happy days, my friends! Be still and listen. It's amazing what you will learn!
Congratulations!!! We've made it to the half-way marker!! How have you been doing so far with the Kindness Challenge? Are you making progress? Have you seen differences? How has the Kindness Challenge changed you or your perspective about others?
As I have said before, I believe that in general, I am a pretty kind person. I was raised that way. I was taught to be polite and humble, honest and to always put other's comforts above my own. My mother has instilled these virtues in my from my youth and I hope that I have passed that on to my children as well.
But it seems to be a different time, these days. As I was growing up, everyone was pretty much taught the same values. So as I was being kind to others, it was being returned to me. Not because I asked for it, but because that's how their parents taught them as well. These days, it seems like those are lessons lost. We seem to be in the ME generation where you always look out for "numero uno". Which is sad. Because if we are only looking out for ourselves, what happens when we get stuck?
We were not created to be solo creatures. That's why we all have different skill sets. We were created to thrive in tribes, communities, groups, and families. We were designed to help one another and when we got stuck, someone would be there to help us.
But sadly, it seems that we are pulling further and further away from that structure, and it's going to take a concentrated effort to return to any semblance of that former life-style. That's why things like the Kindness Challenge are so important. It brings back into focus the things that are important. Stop looking at yourself for just a moment and take a look at those around you. What can you do to help your fellow man? What kind words can you say to change someone's day? Look outward. Find your tribe. Put others first. You'll be amazed at the return you get. It was His plan, when you take care of those around you, you , in turn, will be taken care of.
Have an awesome, love- giving kind of day!
Hang in there, we're HALF-WAY through the whole 30 days!!
Today, I'm having a yard sale and let me tell you that some of the people showing up here are really putting my kindness challenge to the test!! Lol!! People are sometimes rude and judgmental and when they look through your things and decide the value of such things is far less than you think, it kinda stings a little. And some people are not very nice about it at all.
So, my personal challenge today is to smile through it all, remind myself that we're all looking for a "good deal" and that it's only stuff. It's not any indication to the person that I am or the person I'm becoming, it's just stuff. Stuff to cook with, stuff to sit on, stuff to decorate with, stuff to play with... it represents different parts of my life as to what I was interested in at that time. But I've moved on to different interests...
"Give you a dollar for that?"
I smile, "Sure."
It's just... stuff.
Triskaidekaphobia... Don't let that stop you from being kind today!! The fear of the number 13 should only add to your resolve!! Tell yourself you're going to do 13 kind things today.
- Buy 13 cups of coffee for others
-Leave 13 post-it notes everywhere
-Tell 13 people that they are beautiful.
- Hug 13 people
- Volunteer to take 13 dogs for a walk
- Sign up for 13 days of volunteer work
- Mail 13 feel-good greeting cards to those you haven't seen in a while
- Send out 13 "I love you" texts!
-Give 13 random people a flower
It's a great day to get out there and do 13 kind things for others!!
Kindness can be as simple as a post-it note. Sometimes my favorite way to show someone that I am thinking of them or to make sure they know they are loved is through post-it notes. They are the perfect messenger for tiny little love notes and can really make someone's day!
I use the post-its for my family and friends with little notes that say things like, "Just to let you know I'm thinking of you." or, "I am proud of you." or "thank you for (fill in the blank), "good luck on your (fill in the blank). There are a million little ways to tell someone that they are important to you. You can encourage some one with just a few words. It's really cool to think about, as you go about your day you're wondering when they will find their post-it. Will they mention it to you? Will they know it's from you? Or if you snuck it in some where- ninja like- will they figure out its you? Tee hee! It's these things that keep me giggling internally day after day!
Today, I'm going to try random post-its. I'm making generic phrases that I can drop off on the window of a car, or slip in someone's bag... I'm getting excited just thinking of the possibilities!! THIS is going to be a fun day!!
This is getting tricky. Not the being kind part, but the keeping up with everything part! Now I understand why no one accepted the challenge!
I had no idea when I started this project, how much time it would take up. again, not the being kind part, but remembering to write a little blog every day and to respond to others that have questions or need ideas and don't even get me started in how I've fallen behind in publicity!! I know! Shame on me! But since there's probably only three of you reading this, perhaps you will forgive me when I promise to do better!
Have a happy love-giving day!
Taking Kindness for Granted.
The whole point of this Kindness Challenge is to bring to light the thoughts and actions of being kind to others; having it be something you do automatically without being prompted or thinking, "What's in it for me." And a lot of the times where kindness is taken for granted is right under our noses... in our own home.
Sure, your home is your castle and you look forward to get into the secure confines of the draw bridge and just relax and be comfortable. And it is easy to unleash the trouble of the day on those we love most, knowing that they are going to love us anyway. But even those who love you unconditionally, need to be loved and respected in return.
Something as simple as coming in the door and dropping your book bag, lunch bag, shoes... or whatever on the floor or couch instead of putting it where it belongs. You are assuming that someone else is going to come along behind you and take care of.
Say you had a bad day at work and you come home and snap at your wife or children. You don't mean anything by it, but you never apologize and you continue on with your foul attitude for the rest of the evening. Your family members did nothing to contribute to your bad day... and yet, they are feeling the brunt of it.
Remember how we talked about simple acts of kindness being nothing more than kind words or small actions? They don't always need to take place outside the home. In fact, they should start in side the walls of your castle. Tell your wife that she looks nice. Tell your husband things you appreciate about him. Help your mom fix dinner- without being threatened or conditioned. Help your sibling pick up her toys. Leave notes, bring home gifts, do a little extra. The payoff is... amazing. You will become closer and your bonds will be tighter and the household will be happier.
Leave the negative things that happened in your day outside the front door and walk through that door with an attitude of love and gratitude.
What kind things have you done for your family today? What things can you do in the future? How can you show more love to the people you live with? Please share your comments below.
Compassion. Sometimes that's all kindness is. Maybe it's taking that little extra time explaining features to a new customer. Maybe it's holding a hand and being quiet while she cries. Maybe it's walking slowly behind a senior citizen not in any rush to get to where you're going.
Thinking of others first. Seeing that another person has value. Letting another person, be exactly who they were meant to be, with your support, patience or encouragement.
Compassion. Another way to show kindness without spending a dime. Put yourself in someone else's shoes and act accordingly.
Today was bring donuts to work day!! And while my co-workers might have thought it was a conspiracy against their waistlines, they found it in their heart to partake of the sweet deep fried icing covered deliciousness!!
My experiment of kindness has back-fired more than I ever expected. Now when I do something for someone, (perhaps the exact same thing I would have done a month ago) it is now looked upon as something to check off my list. I'm "only" doing it because of the Kindness Challenge. I can't tell you how much this irks me. I'm beginning that this kindness challenge was indeed a bad idea. It is not bringing me the happiness or communion that I was so hoping for. It has had quite the opposite effect. I feel more alone as people think that I am "fake" all of a sudden and then the being "better than every one else" still stings a bit too. It's only day eight. Things may turn around, you never know. But in the meantime... I'll keep on loving others- the way I always do- plus a little extra so I can continually strive to be a better person. That's all I can do. Everyone else has to take care of themselves... No one is making you eat the donuts I bring...
Today, as I was picking up my iced tea, I noticed a homeless man and his dog sitting in the shade outside of the gas station. My kindness deed was there, right in front of me! I'll buy him breakfast!
These are tricky situations. I would hate to insult someone thinking they are homeless when in reality, they are just dirty and out for a walk, but he seemed to fit the "profile" of a homeless man. The dirt, the raggedy clothes, unshaven face, and the tell tale back pack and mound of stuffed grocery bags filled with who knows what. So, I was stopping anyway, what's another couple bucks to buy him breakfast. So I did. I walked over to him to give him his hot breakfast sandwich only to see that he was in the middle of eating one! And not only that, he had a small pile of breakfast sandwiches sitting beside him! Lol!! I am happy to know that this man isn't going to starve today, nor will his dog! But I am even happier that there are others out there doing kind things too. Like I said, it was a no-brainer. Homeless man, homeless dog, next to a food establishment... I hope he takes in enough booty today that it will hold him over for a while.
I'd like to think that the Kindness Challenge is spreading so far and so wide that it's coming full circle back around to where I can see the results, but I won't assume such a thing. There are A LOT of good people that don't need to be prompted to do kind things. I have seen it in action many, many times. I think in essence, we are good people. We just get so busy and caught up with life, that we forget to look outside of our tunnel vision.
Keep up the great works, my friends. Have a wonderful day!
Elizabeth Bourgeret is a teen-life coach and Christian fiction author. She is the creator of the teen life skills event called Total Truth Workshop.