There is an asset, an often undervalued and under-used one, accessible to all of us. It is something we learn how to engage as young children but we often get too busy for as adults. It is a trait that connects us more deeply to others, to our communities and to the beauty of life. That asset is kindness.
My grandmother was wealthy beyond measure. She grew up during the Great Depression, and never had much money to her name, but she was one of the richest people I have ever known. Her gold was disguised as kindness. She was the kindest person I ever knew; the only way I know how to describe her is that she was sweeter than a sugar cookie. She was a woman of few words, but inexhaustibly loving, always looking for someone to help or serve or love. She did countless, nameless and unremembered acts of love. Those acts – the noticed and unnoticed – paved her life and have been remembered as her legacy. In honor of Ellen Madeline Pollin, my sweet grandmother, who passed this week at the age of eighty-nine years-young, I feel inspired to share the power of kindness with you. Grandma knew the irreplaceable value of kindheartedness – it is a type of living of which we are all capable and one which we can all embrace. I want to be wealthy in spirit like my grandmother, and I want the same for you.
The problem with kindness is that we often overlook the worth of living with such heart for a variety of reasons. There are five major reasons why we minimize kindness in our lives. The reasons are listed below – and if you want to hear more about how to slow down and engage your heart so that kindness can flow through you, listen to this week’s Confidence on the Go podcast episode #71 by clicking here.
The reason we lack kindness is….
- That we often rush it
- That in our overscheduled lives we often discount its value and power
- That we are more kind to others than to ourselves – to the extent that we are actually unkind to ourselves
- That we underestimate the inherent need the world has for more kindness
- That kindness deepens our connections – to the world, to others, to strangers, to love, to life
The bottom line is that kindness matters. Significantly. It opens our chasms of compassion and prepares us to participate in the potential of life. William Wordsworth wrote that “the best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love,” and I couldn’t agree more. When you have lived with someone like my grandmother, you know the full truth of Wordsworth’s words.
The kindness that is banked in your heart – banked towards yourself and towards others – is more valuable than your net worth. Kindness towards others has a rippling affect more profoundly valuable than wealth or success. John Ruskin, the 19th-century art critic, once said, “a little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.” Think about that. Kindness is more valuable than wealth. Likewise, your distribution of kindness can make more impact in this world than a large contribution of money towards any foundation.
Please, do not underestimate the value of kindness. As Mark Twain said, “kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Everyone needs kindness, and everyone knows when it is present or not. “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted,” as Aesop of the great Aesop’s Fables once wrote, and it’s true.
Kindness, in every capacity of expression, is valuable. It lines our spirits with wealth that no money could ever buy. It changes us, it changes the world.
I invite you to make September 2014 a month where you engage in “30 Days of Kindness.” You can share your participation by commenting on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/trishblackwellfitness) or by letting me know on my website contact page (www.trishblackwell.com/contact). Here’s what you have to do to participate:
Do one kind thing daily, every day of September, in three different ways:
- Do one kind thing towards yourself
- Do one kind thing towards someone you love
- Do one kind thing towards someone you don’t know well or towards a co-worker
PS: If you struggle with being kind towards yourself – and want to know how to break that cycle – then the Insecurity Detox is for you. In just seven-days you will learn how to start honoring yourself with kind, uplifting thoughts and words. You will learn how to rewrite your vocabulary and thereby your heart towards the world so that you can stop living with limitations and start living the life you were meant to live. You have a legacy to leave – a kindness to give to the world – but first you must learn how to be kind to yourself. You can sign up for the Insecurity Detox at this link: www.trishblackwell.com/insecurity-detox
PPS: I have to share with you my favorite quotation on kindness from Lao Tzu: Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness giving creates love.