Posted by: jude49 | February 19, 2015

“Being” Kind

Hello All,

“Do three acts of kindness a day, and you’ll feel better.” Words from my supervisor in the 1990’s. There was something that didn’t sit right with me about her declaration even then. But I didn’t know what it was until now.

Doing kind things is good. Being kind or developing a kind heart are two different things. Let me explain. I can set out to do 3 kind things and then be quite miserable to myself and others for the rest of the day. Or I can say, “Whew, I’ve put in my kindness portion for the day, and now I can relax.” Or I can choose 3 kindnesses I want to do and implement them. But all of the above does not mean you ARE kind.

Being kind is a choice…to be kind to those who don’t necessarily treat you kindly; being kind when you’re having a bad day; being kind to those who try your patience; being kind to those you perceive are actually presently doing you harm…

Being kind to all people under all circumstances is hard, hard work. It requires focus, pure love and dedication.  It means seeing beyond unacceptable behaviors and outbursts of negative feelings. It means seeing the intentions of the person. Intentions are positively motivated. The best of intentions are expressed, many times, in negative ways.

Being kind is a process that begins with you! Being kind to you consistently gradually ripples into being kind to others.

Does being kind mean you a doormat and let people walk over you? No! It means using empathy, asking yourself what is behind their behaviors/feelings, talking things out when cool heads prevail or simply walking away.

In the past few weeks, I have struggled to “be” kind to a family with two dogs who live close by. The dogs scare me, and they scare my dog. From what I’ve heard, other dog owners are frightened of them as well. When I am scared and feel protective of my dog, I can be reactive. And that’s what happened a few weeks ago. I said some things I wish I wouldn’t have said…all in all, in resulted in a short, heated exchange between me and the owners of the other dogs.

As I have reflected on the incident, I have concluded that I don’t want to be reactive. It’s just negative energy I can do with out. I want to be kind. I have had a few occasions to see the owners and dogs since then. Although we haven’t spoken (I don’t think the timing is quite right for that), I have viewed them more kindly. My thoughts and feelings towards them and their dogs have changed. I feel compassion. I send them compassionate energy. I send them hope…hope that they can receive the help they need to better manage their dogs. I refuse to think or say unkind things. I don’t know the full circumstances around the owners, their dogs…who am I to judge what I do not know? So, for now, I send them blessings. It’s hard work; it’s rewarding work.

The world is full of negative situations…how can we cultivate a kinder heart in the midst of what seems to be a world that is less and less kind?

Recommended Readings: Dr. Rick Hanson, Dr. Tara Brach, Dr. Elisha Goldstein, Jack Kornfield (Google them…great wisdom available!)

Blessings,

Judith

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