Many say our world needs more kindness. But what does it really mean to be kind? Is it just being nice instead of being mean? Being nice doesn’t sound world changing to me. True kindness must be something deeper.
CHANGING THE WORLD THROUGH KINDNESS
I delved into the meaning of kindness when I discovered a thing called World Kindness Day. It was started by the World Kindness Movement in 1997.
Its mission is to inspire individuals and nations to create a kinder world through establishing independent kindness programs and projects in cities, schools, and communities across the globe. (source)
It’s celebrated on November 13th in over 28 countries with events, awards, concerts, and “declarations of kindness”.
World Kindness Day is to highlight good deeds in the community focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness which binds us…it is a day that encourages individuals to overlook boundaries, race and religion. (source)
While contemplating World Kindness Day I thought to myself – Why just one day? I know it’s great to spread awareness but can’t we do more. Why not be generous and practice kindness all the time?
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama
Then I looked up kindness in the dictionary.
HOW KINDNESS IS DEFINED
Did I find my definition of kindness as being nice instead of mean? Yes and no.
Kindness is the quality of being gentle, caring and helpful.
Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. (emphasis mine)
You could say that being friendly and considerate is being nice but kindness is more. Kindness is generous.
Kindness isn’t something you’re generous with. Kindness IS inherently generous. To be kind is to be generous.
But isn’t being generous just about money? What is generosity then?
Generosity is giving more of what is usual or expected.
Generosity – free from meanness or smallness of mind or character; magnanimous (aka forgiving)
Generosity is the quality of being kind and generous. The quality or fact of being plentiful or large.
Generosity is a quality – like unselfishness, honesty and patience. When you show generosity, you might give away things or money or put others before yourself. But generosity is about more than cash and stuff. When you’re forgiving and gentle to people, you show generosity of spirit. If you give others help or credit, that shows generosity. The world would certainly be a better place if more people showed generosity to others. (emphasis mine)
Kindness (as well as generosity) is defined as a quality of being.Kindness (as well as generosity) is defined as a quality of being. Click To Tweet
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE KIND?
Being kind is not only being nice instead of being mean, it’s being nice in the face of meanness. It’s considerate, gracious, and forgiving.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32
Being kind is going the extra mile in helpfulness, demonstrating a generosity of spirit. A generous spirit is quick to help in whatever is needed.
Being kind is showing love because love is kind.Being kind is showing love because love is kind. Click To Tweet
We don’t always feel like being kind or loving. But we can overcome. We can develop a kind and generous spirit through practice.
Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier. ― Mother Teresa
Here are 30 ways to practice love and kindness.
I’ve done many of these and maybe you have too. Read through the list and then see below.
- Pick up litter
- Donate food
- Drop off a blanket at a homeless shelter
- Donate toys
- Donate books to the library
- Smile at everyone you see
- Clean up after yourself
- Bring someone a meal
- Let someone in front of you in traffic
- Give a secret gift
- Bring coffee/tea or cocoa to a friend
- Give out free hugs
- Call or facetime a loved one who lives far away
- Pay for someone’s order behind you in the drive through
- Send a handwritten note
- Walk a dog
- Put up sticky notes of positive words in public bathrooms
- Hold a door open
- Send flowers
- Bring bagels to work
- Leave quarters at the laundromat
- Leave your biggest tip ever
- When you say hi how are you, listen for the answer
- Rake leaves
- Take cookies to a neighbor
- Say hello to a stranger
- Mow a lawn
- Offer to help an elderly neighbor
- Have you done something on the list? Let me know and let’s celebrate together.
- Pick one or more things from the list to practice. (Something you’ve never done before.)
- Print out the list for reference and/or make a list of your own.
- Fill your love tank so you can pour love into others get this.
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