Kindness Doesn’t Cost Anything
My Mom, who is a very kind woman, has told me many times that “it doesn’t cost anything to be kind.” I love these words of wisdom. Kindness is not only free, it feels good to practice, and it activates our deep compassion. When we take a moment to realize that everyone loves to be treated with respect, and that they, like us, could be having a bad day, we touch our deep connection to all other beings.
I’ve known people who have told me that kindness isn’t authentic, or that “truth is more important than being nice.” I don’t think honesty and kindness are mutually exclusive, though. When you have a truth that you wish to share with someone, they’ll certainly be more open to listening if you approach them in a kind manner. If your authentic feeling in the moment is frustration or irritation, it’s easy enough to deliver that message with kindness, such as letting your family member know “I’m feeling really upset right now, but it’s nothing to do with you. Just give me some time to calm down.”
Sure, it takes some self-awareness sometimes to stop yourself from lashing out when you’re upset, but that can be practiced and learned, like any skill. If you’re naturally very forthright and blunt, you can learn to temper your message with kindness. And if you’re nice to the point of self-deprecation, you can learn to take care of your own needs while still being kind.
Kindness is, in my opinion, an essential part of living spiritually. People like The Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Pema Chodron are living examples of those who are living authentically in a compassionate and kind way. Don’t worry, though, if they seem like unattainable examples. There are people all around you, every day, in all parts of life, shining their kindness like a beacon.