How do I show kindness to others?
Hello to my dearest sisters,
Yesterday we talked about battling the vice of envy through living in the virtue of kindness. Simple enough but what would being kind look like today or tomorrow? How am I supposed to “be kind”? I feel my life is lacking greatly in this virtue, where do I start?
We’ll start by looking at the practical and then build outwards.
Not long ago, a friend of mine got me a mini book that happens to be on the topic of kindness (1). I love what the author shares about kindness: “baby steps of kindness can help us to feel more connected to the world in which we live and the people with whom we share it”. In other words kindness is about connecting.
Here are some things we can do to connect: (all from the book I mentioned, some points reworded)
- Volunteer at church regularly or at a one-time event - Take beautiful flowers to a local hospital and ask staff to pass them on to someone whose table is empty. Include a note wishing them well. - Pay for someone else’s coffee - Buy lunch for a homeless person (have it with them if they’re open to it!) - Write inspiring messages on postcards and hand them out - Wash a tired friend or family members’s feet, apply pedicure and scented cream and given them a pedicure - Babysit for someone - Cook a meal for someone who has recently had a baby or been unwell - Give someone a ride – even if it’s out of the way - Offer to take some of the workload for a colleague - Send mail with a poem, a photo, a sachet of hot chocolate, a face mask... - Make a music playlist for someone who needs it - Encourage children to try again instead of focusing on their mistakes - Give your children undiluted attention - Avoid speaking badly of others
What do these all have in common? It’s about service. It’s less about me and more about you. ‘You’ being the people around me. ‘You’ being God. “Whatever [I] [do] for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of [Mine], I [do] for [Jesus]” (Matthew 25:40). Instead of thinking about my needs, I open my eyes and my heart to those around me. I don’t neglect myself, but rather through self-denial I step out of being consumed with myself.
Kindness is about learning to listen to my heart, as my heart will guide me to love. We are designed for love, but sometimes things get in the way so practising kindness becomes difficult. But even in saying that we practice kindness, it is implied that we are rehearsing, we are training, we are LEARNING to live in love. So, it’s not going to be an overnight change, as we wish everything was. The more we do it, the more we become able to do it. Let’s be patient with ourselves as it will help us in our journey, and it will help us be patient with others.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca reminds us that “wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness”, meaning there is never a lack of opportunities to serve, because there is always at least one human everywhere I go and that one human is where the change starts from.
Lord, help me to be kind to others others. I am often so focused on myself that there is no room left to think about others. I am sorry for not feeding You when You were hungry Lord. I am sorry for not comforting You when You needed it most. I am sorry that I didn’t give You undivided attention. I am sorry that I have been my only hurdle. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Open my heart to the movement of the Spirit. Allow it to penetrate and transform me.
(1) Little Acts of Kindness: Countless Ways to Brighten Someone’s Day, Rebecca Dickinson