Wednesday, May 9, 2012
The Kindness Project
Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good. But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren't feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, starting with a series of inspirational posts.
BE THE PERSON YOU NEEDED (yes, my title is almost the same as Carol's... it's because she inspired me.)
Choose to be kind. It sounds easy enough to do, right? And it is... some of the time.
Choosing to be kind when it's for a friend who's hurting, or for a family member who's having a down day, or to a sweet-but-harried-looking young mom juggling three kids and a cart full of groceries... those are pretty easy choices to make. They are nice people. Being kind to them shouldn't take too much effort. And maybe we're having a good day, and feeling really generous, so we stop, make an effort, reach out, help. We choose to be kind.
But what about the times when we're wishing someone would stop and be nice to us? Or what if it's a person who has been unkind in some way in the past--or many times? Not quite as easy anymore. That's when it truly counts though, that's what this project is all about in my mind. Not just the easy choice to be nice in the easy situation. It's about choosing to consciously be kind even when I'm not in a great place myself. Even when it's to a person who isn't nice to me.
Have you ever had a day when you felt so alone or hurt that you longed for just a small glimmer of kindness from someone? I have. The kind of day where the usual carelessness of the average strangers around me stings instead of going mostly unnoticed like normal. The kind of day when the deliberate rudeness of certain people feels like salt being rubbed into an open wound that can never quite heal. The kind of day when it's all you can do to keep the tears buried, to try and stay strong and put the smile your kids need to see on your face. I have. Not often, but I've had them. And I've thought to myself, why didn't that stranger offer to help me when I was so obviously in need of it? Why can't so-and-so just smile at me and be the first one to say hi, just once? Why can't someone call me just to chat, just to let me know they care?
We all have those days. Some more than others. And we can all do something to help.
My vision for myself with this project is to be that person, the one that I long for on those days. Even if I'm the one having that day, I am committing to try and be that person. Even in those times when I long for someone to reach out to me--I'm going to try and reach out to others. I'm not perfect, and I know some days I will be better at this than others. And it's hard if people don't reciprocate. (Trust me, I know. I try to be kind to people who aren't nice back. It's hard. And I'll be honest, some days I don't have it in me to reach out and open myself up to being hurt again and again.) But I'm going to try harder. I'm going to work on being more sincere. On looking for opportunities to reach beyond myself and consciously try to be kind to everyone around me, no matter who they are or what they've done--good or bad.
Be the person you needed. If we all did that, can you imagine what would happen?
Check out who else is posting today for The Kindness Project:
Carolina Valdez Miller
Be sure to check them out :D We post the second Wednesday of every month. Want to join us? Grab our button and spread a little kindness.