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Constant Kindness

"Constant kindness can accomplish much.

As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding

mistrust, and hostility to evaporate."

Albert Schweitzer

I've always been a student of happiness. One of my main goals in life is to be happy and I've done a lot of research. Sometimes, it seems as if people go out of their way to do the opposite. I've heard individuals actually say something to the effect of, "How can I be happy if someone else is suffering?!". Oh my goodness -- is your misery going to fix theirs? Not likely. Oh, my goodness -- is your misery going to fix theirs? Not likely and it would be far better to send some positive energy out into the world.

I not only monitor myself and how well I bring joy into my life, but I also like to observe others, especially cheerful others. One of my observations, recently, was that delight goes hand-in-hand with kindness. Actually, I noticed it by coming in the back door of that awareness -- whenever I would see someone who was mean, I would also take note that they were unhappy. One thought that popped up was, "It must be sad/hard to be them." Whenever I saw someone be deliberately cruel, I would get a wave of how miserable they must be -- I could actually feel it. I noticed that it's impossible to be inconsiderate or disagreeable and be content and in a good mood, at the same time!

This led me to understand that if I'm happy, I'm probably being kind and that happiness might just be the byproduct of an act of kindness. This means that if I'm feeling irritable and out of sorts, probably the best thing I can do is find a way to do something nice for someone else. It becomes a win/win situation (my fav!).

There's a wonderful Swedish proverb that says,

"Love me the most when I least deserve it,

because that's when I really need it."

This is so beautiful to me because often, our first reaction to that is, "But, I don't want to reward bad behavior". Yet, if we offer someone who is having a bad day more unpleasantness, what hope do they have of getting out of their despair?

I recently read about a man who received terrible service from a grumpy waitress in a restaurant. At first he thought about leaving either no tip at all or at least just a very small one. Ultimately, he decided to leave one of the biggest tips ever. His process for getting there was that by leaving nothing or something insultingly tiny, he would only feed into this person's belief that life was pretty awful right now. By changing up what she was probably "expecting", he hoped that she might start her thinking down a different path. Also, he didn't have to let her dark cloud hover over him. He could do a good deed and go on his merry way.

The world I want to live in is filled with jolly, smiling, light-hearted souls. A lot of that is up to me. I can either be caring and thoughtful or hurtful and insensitive. Either way, I will set the tone and deal with the consequences. Which would you choose?


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About the Author




Barbara L Cummings, MS, RN

the Mindful Maven and Mistress of Meditation, is a sassy Queen-ager, mentor, confidante and trusted guide who provides people with everyday life support. 

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