Kindness isn’t overrated. It is underused! Kindness moves mountains and breaks down walls. Kindness restores hope and instills vision. Kindness is the least expensive tool we’ve got toward building fabulous marriages – and when our home lives are incredible…the world around us changes. And we can change the world.
BUT…it is really easy to get in the habit of not being kind. As much as we’re wired for connection, we are also manipulated by self-protection. If your marriage isn’t all that right now, your brain is screaming, “Don’t do that kind thing! She might think you’re weak!” or “Losing.” or “A loser.” or “Vulnerable.” If you’re kind, maybe he’ll take advantage of you. So you just go on, being unkind and wrapping yourself up in your protective bubble – all safe and miserable.
Here is our challenge. Start being KIND and watch the world change around you. Your own personal world, and the one right beyond your purview. If you engage kindness with consistency, you will be different. And you will see things in a new way. Try these – every day – until they become the habit of your way of living:
Smile: Not just at someone you know and are already connected to. Smile at a stranger on the subway (yes. the subway – we know it’s not cool. So start a movement). Or the toll booth worker. Smile at the employee checking you out at Fresh Market. Or the person walking in to your favorite coffee shop that you don’t know. Be intentional, and start smiling.
Appreciate: Every single day, tell at least five people something you appreciate. This doesn’t have to be big stuff…tell your neighbor you appreciate how great his lawn looks. Tell your child’s teacher that you appreciate them helping your child learn. Tell your boss you appreciate his insight (even if you don’t agree with it)! Tell your wife you appreciate she picked up your clothes at the cleaner. If this is hard, it tells you something about how you look at the world. There’s lots to appreciate when you are looking.
Remember and remind: We all get those flashes of a good memory. So speak it to someone, and even better, speak it to the person you shared it with. Remind them of that great moment! Remind your mom about when the car broke down and she was such a BOSS in how she handled it – helping you get unafraid. Remind your child of the moment he was born, and how it was nothing less than AMAZING. Remind your spouse of the first time you looked at them and had that overwhelming sense that this was more.
Send an encouragement: You can do this is so many ways. Take the moment to post a reply on someone’s blog (hint, hint), or article, or post. Feedback is kind! Or respond to a group email with an encouragement tucked in. Send a good luck text to the friend who has a presentation or text your spouse and encouragement right before they pick up the kids. You can do this!
Pay it Forward: When you grab a cup of coffee, pay for the person next in line. It’s delightful to be the recipient of such kindness! Sponsor a child through one of the awesome organizations that care for kids in dire situations (we have four kids through Compassion International). Pass up the closest parking spot for an elderly driver, or young mom with a carload of kids – and smile as you do. Look the homeless person in the eye, with dignity, and tell them hello…the pay-it-forward possibilities are endless! How many can you manage over the next month?
God puts such value in kindness…in Romans 2:4, He tells us that His kindness is intended to lead us to Him! To change, to repentance so we can stop living in fear and self-protection, and start living in abundance and passion. Give kindness – intentional, consistent kindness – a try. It is life-changing!
Living the unboundedlife,
Susan and Jere