I think we all need a little bit of kindness right now. Kindness to ourselves, to our friends, to our family, to our foes. I am not going to get political here, but I do feel like the past 6 months have been pretty turbulent, to say the least, on the political front.
Inspired by an article I read yonks ago, I am going to follow Deepak Chopra’s 7 days of Kindness, starting tomorrow, Friday the 11th.
The society we live in is massively overstimulated. Our busy lives and schedules breed a lack of connection with the ones we love and those around us. Many people go through their daily like barely looking up from their mobile screen, the connection they have for the day is via an app, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Self expression, vulnerability are constantly being pushed down, for fear that our authentic self will push others away.
Kindness has fallen by the wayside, too. Especially this week.
It is important to note that although this is a week of kindness shown by selfless acts, being kind to yourself, first and foremost, is also important. Before giving more of yourself, you have to learn to recognize YOUR signs of needing kindness and gratitude and learn to fill your cup up first.
Day 1: Show Your Appreciation to Someone in Your Life
Whatever you choose to thank someone, take a moment to show gratitude today. You can intentionally do this by taking the time to say thank you or by praising someone for his or her service. A simple, “I appreciate you,” can make a big difference in someone’s life.
Day 2: Show Gratitude to a Stranger
Similar to day one, this involves extending appreciation to someone you don’t know. When you show your gratitude to those who are strangers, you realize that, truly, we are all interconnected. Simple acts of kindness can go beyond the divisions created by language or appearance. Express gratitude with a warm thank you.
Day 3: Give a Helping Hand
Help someone! It isn’t that hard to find someone that may need a helping hand. Show kindness on this day by providing that helping hand for someone, whether you know them or not.
Day 4: Listen
Truly listen. Pay attention to what people say when you ask, “How are you doing?” While this can be quite challenging it can also be a catalyst for deeper connection. You might feel that you want to share a solution or add your opinion, but practice taking a moment to pause, breathe, and direct your full attention to what is being said without interrupting. Those receiving this act of kindness will feel fully supported by the space that you have created for them to share.
Day 5: Honor Nature
Honor and acknowledge the Earth for all that it gives to you. Consider riding your bike, plant flowers in your garden, pack your groceries in recyclable bags, or pick up garbage that you see on the floor. Every bit counts when you put into perspective that this is our home, which we will pass down from one generation to the next.
Day 6: Make Time to Connect
As your days fill up with commitments, work, or extracurricular activities, it’s easy to lose touch with friends and family. Be intentional and reach out to a family member or friend who you haven’t seen in a while—schedule a date to reconnect or pick up the phone and call.
Day 7: Pay it Forward
By combining something you’re passionate about with a desire to help, you can spread kindness in the world. Some ways you can pay it forward include: paying the tab for someone you don’t know at a coffee shop; letting another driver get in front of you while waiting for the red light; donating money or time to a cause you believe in; giving someone a caring smile and/or a hug to show them you care. Any act of kindness is truly paying it forward.
Check back here next week to see what I did on my 7 days of Intentional Kindness and I hope I inspire you to try it out! Let me know how you’ve gotten on.