Monday, January 3, 2011

Try A Little Kindness

So here I am, day two of my adventure, writing about whatever is on my mind in hopes that this exercise brings new ideas. Thanks so much to those of you who sent encouraging comments on my first post; you are fueling my fire. 

"And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been." Rainer Maria Rilke

I, too, love New Year's Day, because it sets a tone, if only for one day, of hopefulness and a positive outlook for the days ahead. This year I sat and pondered about 2011, trying to set achievable goals for myself, ones that would improve my quality of life. Yes, losing weight and regular exercise are always there, but this year I am also thinking about my state of mind. Did you know that the ability to think about what you are thinking is one of the characteristics that separates man from animals? But, let's not go there. 
My yoga instructor, Lisa, would be so happy to know that I actually listen to what she says and that these things stay with me for days and weeks afterward. She tells us to be kind to ourselves; not to be critical when we can't do a pose "right" or to its full extent, which makes me think about kindness in general. What has happened to kindness? Where did it go and when did it become a sign of weakness? Our society is bitter, critical and mean-spirited; kindness is in hiding and underrated. Just think about the last time someone said or did something for you that was kind. I would be willing to bet that you not only felt good but also a little surprised to be treated so well. The fact that an act of kindness is a surprise is a sad commentary.

If I have any resolution for this new year, it will be to try to surprise people with kindness as often as I can. I received a “Happy New Year” email from a friend last week which ended with this thought, “Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.” So I have decided that, even though I may have to bite my tongue in half and my inner voice may be shouting a perfect, sarcastic, witty comeback, I am going to strive to be kinder than necessary. And sometimes the kindest thing we can say or do is nothing; those who know me will know that is the hardest battle of all.


  1. Kindness is a noble goal, and the world would be a much better place if we all practiced it. I have a pleasant memory of you as someone who always was respectful and kind to others, but what makes me smile more is the memory that while you were being respectful and kind, I knew what you were really thinking. ;-)

  2. So true. I'm often amazed at what struggles people face. I have to try hard not to "get a dig in" with my sarcastic nature. Great goal!