Those who know me well know I can go through the day with my eyes wide shut. I get so caught up in my own thoughts that I never see the world around me. Case in point: my friend once had to point out that a restaurant we frequented had painted their walls burgundy, covering the wall’s previous pastel green color. The food was good either way.
I don’t really mind being oblivious to colors, but I’ve had to learn to keep my eyes wide open when it comes to seeing opportunities for kindness. After all, wall color has little impact on my life. But kindness…. Kindness has the power to increase the physical and emotional well-being of both the giver and the receiver. Kindness holds the power to create greater intimacy with others. Kindness strengthens relationships and opens the door of happiness in the lives of those around the one sharing kindness. Kindness is a viral warrior that requires me to keep my eyes wide open. How can you and I learn to keep my eyes wide open so I can see and recognize opportunities for kindness? Here are 3 steps to help.
- At the start of every day, bring kindness to mind. Get curious about kindness. Ask yourself, “I wonder what opportunities will come my way to show kindness today?” If you struggle to remember to ask this question of yourself, set a reminder on your phone.
- Bring kindness to the forefront of your mind throughout the day. In fact, remind yourself five times a day of your goal to see opportunities to share kindness and to act upon those opportunities as they arise. Remind yourself of kindness once at mid-morning, once at lunch, once in mid-afternoon, once at supper time, and once in the evening. Make kindness a common thought, a thought you keep in the forefront of your mind. Once again, if you struggle to bring kindness to mind, set a reminder on your phone.
- Before bed complete a kindness inventory. Think back through your day and write down times you showed kindness to others through your words or actions. Then consider if there were any times that you missed the opportunity to share kindness throughout the day—perhaps you missed an opportunity to share a kind word with a cashier, to hold a door open for someone, to let another driver merge in front of you. Write down these missed opportunities as well. Consider what prevented you from showing kindness. Were you rushed or tired? mindless? angry? Then, imagine what you could have done differently to show kindness at that moment.
Engage in these three practices every day for the next thirty days. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised at the results. In fact, I think you will grow in your ability to love. You could even engage in these three practices as a family and watch how growing kindness nurtures a healthier, happier family.