Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
One thing I strive for each day, is to be kind. I don’t always get it right, but I do endeavor to be compassionate in my interactions with others; humans and animals alike. It isn’t always easy, especially when dealing with agitated or angry people. However, taking a deep breath before reacting, and ensuring that my response is honest, true and kind, helps to diffuse the situation and keep the peace most of the time. Should I falter and react from a place of ego, such as when I am tired, under pressure, or just generally feeling intolerant, then I will always seize the next opportunity to offer a heartfelt apology and to make things right again. Thankfully, forgiveness is also an act of kindness and one we should never take for granted!
A simple act of kindness can leave impressions that last a lifetime, but the same can be said for unkind behavior; whether that’s yelling at the dog for getting under our feet, or snapping impatiently at a curious child who has asked too many questions, or ignoring a loved one’s efforts to tidy the house; all of these things can deeply affect those around us. Being kind is not as easy as it first sounds and I like to think that most people do not wish to intentionally hurt others, that the majority of the time we do so when we are unconscious of our words and actions. In these situations, Dalai Lama’s quote can remind us that it is always possible to be kind, even when we feel tired and stressed and agitated. That kindness is something we can all strive for, with a little patience and effort each day.
At the school I work in, we have three school rules:
Speak kindly to others;
Keep your hands, feet and objects to yourself (eg. never lash out at anyone); and
Follow instructions first time.
Whilst all three are important in keeping our pupils safe, the first two endeavor to teach our children from a very young age the importance of being kind to others. If we can nurture kindness in children, then we can also adopt the principles of compassion in our own lives and therefore, lead by example.
How can you be kinder in your interactions with others? How has kindness impacted your life?