I have loved this quote since I first heard it years ago.
To me it means: “If I want to see change in my world, I must be the one to make the change” or “Take responsibility both for your life, and for your own growth.”
If want to see more kindness in the world, I must be kind. If I want to experience more love, maybe I need to love more. What does that really mean? I need to love more – the show love more, to express love more, to actively engage more often in the lives of others in a way that represents love to others in a way they understand.
Ok, so if I value kindness, and I do, and I want to see more of it in my world, how do I express that or exhibit that to others? Is it about focusing on kindness, a state of continuously being aware of kindness? What does kindness really mean?
kindness: the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate
That’s got to be a good start: friendly, generous and considerate. And keeping those words in my conscious mind, I figure, can’t be a bad thing.
What about synonyms for kindness (be warned, the list is long):
kindliness, kind-heartedness, warm-heartedness, tender-heartedness, goodwill, affection, warmth, gentleness, tenderness, concern, care; consideration, considerateness, helpfulness, thoughtfulness, unselfishness, selflessness, altruism, compassion, sympathy, understanding, big-heartedness, benevolence, friendliness, neighbourliness, hospitality, amiability, courteousness, public- spiritedness; generosity, magnanimity, indulgence, patience, tolerance, charitableness, graciousness, lenience, humaneness, mercifulness;
Ok, so if I want to be kind, I need to keep these other characteristics in mind too – …oh good, well no pressure then!
I seem to spend a lot of time focusing on positive change. I see kindness as an example of a characteristic that I think is undervalued, under-rated, and would like to see more of in today’s world. If that’s the case then I not only need to be kind, but I need to consider of all the other synonyms above too – because they round out what kindness truly means.
And there’s not much point in saying “I value kindness” if I don’t express it in my words and actions, because being authentic matters to me too.
It’s a big ask. Am I aiming too high? Setting myself up to fail?
Maybe my approach needs to be in line with ‘small steps’. So instead of creating something that becomes too big and overwhelming…. What if I take one day at a time and see what acts of kindness I can perform today?
And maybe that’s enough.