You may know of my life theme to promote conscious acts of kindness as a daily practice.
The idea is for you to actively take kind, compassionate actions day in, day out as a way to promote not just greater well-being in the life and soul of the recipient but in you too.
I see it as my mission to endorse and carry out this idea. I think we can achieve wonderful things together if we do!
Conscious acts of kindness come in many sizes, many degrees of importance. But I’ve noticed there are three common threads in people who are extremely kind and loving. Let’s look at them.
Trait #1. A generosity of spirit. The ability to consider the other person and want for their good fortune in life is essential; you can’t be loving from a position of scarcity. You have to feel you have what it takes and that you have enough for yourself and then some. We can force ourselves to ‘do the right thing’ on occasion, but over time this lacks authenticity and it shows. You won’t be able to keep it up. A generosity of spirit means a willingness to help and support without being asked and without expectation of reward.
Trait #2. A willingness to see what someone else needs. This is the ability to empathize. You must be able to understand the situation from another’s point of view and be able to anticipate what they want and need. Being able to observe is important here. If you watch someone closely you can see when they’re struggling and step in. Or ask. Do they need help? Do they need a cup of tea? And sometimes, it’s just about knowing someone, what they like and what they need.
Trait #3. Doing what it takes to help. Seems obvious but we all know people who stand back, leaving it to someone-else to fill the need. We’ve all been those people from time to time, too. But taking action is the greatest kindness. Meeting a need or sharing what you have with others, using your skills to further someone else’s fortune – these are ways we can move from simply thinking about generosity to embodying it. We must develop a sense of personal responsibility so that we are the ones who step up, own up and do what it takes.
Do you have these three traits? Would you be described as a generous person by others who know you? Could you do better?
Do it, then you’ll be it.
If you’re wondering how you can improve, let me tell you. Take one act of kindness every day. Even if you don’t feel like it. The bonhomie that it will engender will create a momentum of its own. Like muscles, usage begets strength. To be kind, do kindnesses. To be generous, complete generous acts. It is a circular argument.
I am collecting stories for a book about conscious acts of kindness and their resulting impact. Tell us in the comments about your experience of offering kindness and the resulting impact on both you and the other person.
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The 7th International NexusEQ Conference is taking place at HARVARD UNIVERSITY in Boston, June 24-26, 2013. There isn’t a lot of time left! Join me, and luminaries such as Peter Salovey, Marco Iacoboni and Herbert Benson, for a ground-breaking three days. You can read more details about it here.