I have been thinking about kindness this week. I realized that I need to work on being kinder to those closest to me---my husband, my kids, my brother, my sister, my friends. I spent a year practicing being kinder and softer in my outlook on life a few years ago and became a better person for it. It is time to do that again in 2009.
My dictionary says, "kindness n. 1 The quality of being kind; good will. 2 A kind act; a favor. 3 A kindly feeling."
"kind adj. 1 Friendly and helpful: a kind act. 2 Gentle: kind to children. 3 Characterized by friendliness and gentleness: a kind remark. ---Syn. 1. charitable, generous, good, good-hearted. 2 humane, kindly."
Why is it easier to be kind to a stranger than it is to those you love? I think it is because you have more of yourself invested in those you love. A stranger enters your life for just a few minutes and then is gone. You don't always see the change that your act of kindness brought about in the other person. You just know that you felt good for giving that other person a smile, or for taking the time to open a door and letting the other person enter first, or for letting another person go before you in the line at the pharmacy or for giving money to your favorite charity. All of those are acts of kindness that you perform for the benefit of strangers.
Because you have invested your time, your money, your love into those closest to you, you are more afraid of being rejected or disappointed or maybe even ignored and taken for granted if you do those same small things for the people closest to you. Instead of being fearful, remember the advantages of being kind to those closest to you.
When you are kind to others, they are usually kind to you as well. When you are kind to others, you get to see their pleasure caused by your act of kindness. I am not saying be kind to others because of what you will get back. The getting back is just a nice side effect of your actions. Even if the other person doesn't response to your kindness, you still know that you did something good for someone else. I know that these apply to strangers as well as those you are closest to.
In my own way, I am saying that the added benefit to being kind to those closest to you is that you get to see the happiness that you have contributed to in another person that you care about and love. That always makes me happier.
Being kind to others is a great way to express your gratitude for that person being in your life. Expressing your gratitude to that person is in itself an act of kindness. Anything that you do that helps another person feel better about themselves can be an act of kindness.
My act of kindness for you, my reader, is to finish this article before you catch on that I am beginning to ramble. Have a glorious day. It is cold here but the sun is shining brightly so I am having a glorious day of sunshine.