Are you a kind person? Would you like to be kinder?
Becoming kinder is something all of us — or almost all of us — strive for. Why? Because we want to be good people mostly. But to be honest there’s a selfish reason as well: we know that the kinder we are the happier we are. Isn’t it true that every time you’re kind to someone — whether it be cooking a meal or helping someone who is homeless — you feel a jolt of satisfaction and happiness?
Have you noticed that kindness is also contagious? When you’re kind to another person it tends to inspire them to be kinder, and that makes everyone happier. What a great system!
So why isn’t everyone always kind? Many reasons: we get too busy and distracted, we get into bad habits of selfishness even though it doesn’t make us happy, or we get out of practice. Kindness is like a muscle; it needs to be exercised on a regular basis to keep us in good spiritual shape.
I found some good exercises for kindness in an article titled Three Strategies for Bringing Kindness Into Your life from The Greater Good, an organization that researches and promotes compassion. Some of my favorite ideas from the blog are a kindness meditation, practicing random acts of kindness in our daily lives, and encouraging kindness in kids. There are many more ideas on how to feel connected to others and having the courage to reach out to those are suffering even though it may be risky and scary.
So why not try a kindness exercise or two and remember the words of the Dalai Lama: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”