It’s Friday – which means it’s time for your weekly “homework” topic. Yeah!
Being kind and compassionate to others is one of the keys of a happy, successful and healthy life. Studies have shown time and time again that having a giving attitude helps you, the giver, an incredible amount.
Yet Mother Teresa, who was known for being an expert in kindness, once talked the place where many people fall down in terms of kindness and compassion:
"It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start."
— Mother Teresa
Is that true for you?
Do you find it easier to be kind to people you pass on the street than the people you work with? Do you find it easier to be kind to the people you work with, than the ones you live with?
An interesting realisation, no?
A huge part of my journey in awareness and mindfulness has come from being more patient and understanding and compassionate with the people in my own house.
So — without any further messing around, here’s the topic, and my commentary and recommendations below.
One of the greatest things you can do for your own health, happiness and fulfilment is to be kind to others.
Yet when you are super busy and stressed, there is no time or space for anyone else. Opening yourself up to the presence of now is crucial because then you start to have much, much more time and space to give. So don't let those acts of true kindness to yourself slip.
Next – set yourself a reminder for every day this week. How will you remember to be kind to others?
Don't let kindness just be a willingness to help when asked. How will you make this week about actively looking for places where you can be kind?
As always, the only way you will experience the joy and power of kindness to transform your own life is to jump in and fully play with it. Don't let this topic be a "Oh that's nice ..."; step up and make it a reality.
My own investigation into being more kind to others has shown me many things.
Having an awareness of kindness to others showed me how grumpy I could get over the smallest of things. A slow shopper dawdling in the supermarket and getting in my way would drive my blood pressure through the roof, for example.
But it also showed me how (when I checked the above propensity for grumpiness) I could bring patience and understanding and tolerance to kindness to just about anyone, except the people who I shared a roof with.
The people I was closest to? Why would the smallest comment or action, such as leaving the dishes unwashed, drive me bananas?
Our loved ones push our buttons for sure. But that’s why it’s extra important to be kind and understanding and compassionate to the people we are closest to:
Because we say they are the most important people in our lives, but we don't always treat them that way.
The fact is so many humans tend to take who we live with for granted. We assume they will always be there – and so Facebook or Instagram or texting someone across the city becomes much more important than the people right in front of us.
But the fact is they won't always be around.
We miss out on real, tangible connection and love and aliveness simply because we forget or discount the importance of nurturing the relationships with the people closest to us.
And it’s only when they displease us do we bring any attention to the fact that they are in our lives; and the interaction is all negative. It’s like our kind public face gets thrown away and all the petty grievances and hates and the negative past come flooding out.
Now, having a relationship based in overwhelming positivity takes time, and it takes energy.
It takes listening and communicating and sometimes swallowing your pride and the willingness to step down from the positions you hold most dear … often all at the end of a busy day when you have no interest in doing anything for anyone.
But giving that time and energy is absolutely worth it.
Be kind to others, especially your loved ones, and your life starts to shine. Be kind and you benefit. Your relationship, with the people you say you love, becomes less stressful and so much more satisfying. And they’re so much more likely to become kind in return, doing what you ask and possibly (shock, horror!) even thinking of you first too.
Look – just try it. Give it a week and tell me what happens.
I’m not saying don’t be clear with your loved ones about your expectations. I’m saying when you do it from a foundation of continual kindness they’re much more likely to listen to you when you want them to.
And you get perspective on how important these expectations actually are to you. Want to be right? Or happy?
Don’t forget to get my free guide to living a stress free and completely aware, mindful life. You can get your copy here: