Most of us know that what we put out there in the universe is pretty much what we get back. It's called Karma or "what goes around comes around." It's pretty easy to show love and kindness to those who are closest to us. But it's not always easy to show kindness to strangers...especially the ones who've just irritated the heck out of us. Here are five simple reminders to help us all be better humans and better frogs.
1. Reserve judgment. Learn to keep an open mind. Don't hang on so tightly to the things you know. Be willing and open to listening to points of view that are different. We can't always be right, no matter how much we want to me. So loosen up and let others be right once in awhile.
2. Give others a chance to talk. Why is it that we always want to tell everybody everything we know but never offer them the same courtesy? We can "surprise and delight" others by keeping an open mind and a closed mouth. One simple version of a random act of kindness could be to simply listen. it doesn't cost anything yet its value is limitless. What do I mean by listening? using both ears and engaging your brain; really hearing what they say. And no matter how tempting it may be to break in and express your opinion...or to simply correct the...DON'T. Don't make this about you.
3. Be honest. Being kind means being honest. Honestly doesn't have to equal being snarky or mean. Don't give short answers like good or fine. And the one I really dislike is the "very lonely "k"...as if typing or saying "okay" is way too time-consuming. It's been suggested that when someone asks for our opinion or asks us a question that we need to do them the favor of giving an honest reply. This means giving them a proper answer. It can mean being vulnerable. And it means elaborating a little. You needn't "spill your guts" but do go into some detail. Going a little deeper can make the other person feel valued and not like they wasted your time. Remember, you may want someone to take the time to answer a question for you some day; what goes around comes around.
4. Be selfless. I know that I get cranky and a bit selfish when I'm hungry. For others, it can happen when they're tired or stressed out. These times are the perfect opportunity for you (and for me) to see just how our actions have an influence on others. All this takes is to put yourself in the other person's shoes. Then, after seeing things from their perspective, learn to act from a place that's more universal....a place like love or compassion. And finally,
5. turn your attention outward. Instead of focusing on me, me, me...try focusing on the beautiful and often-unnoticed qualities of others. Don't be shy about complimenting the inside beauty you see in others. Congratulate them on their achievements and don't mention your own...I know it's hard, but you can do it! mention their kindness, their compassion, how well they listen or the sound advice they give. There's always something honestly good we can say.
The gift of kindness that you offer a stranger is a gift of kindness you offer the world. Kindness and compassion are traits that we pass on. When someone is kind or helpful to us, we are far more likely to show kindness to someone else. That's a scientific fact. And that is something to really celebrate! Being kind doesn't have to take a lot of effort. It's really pretty simple. And when you start being kinder, others become kinder to you. And that makes life so much better for everyone.