It’s February, and where I live there isn’t enough sunshine to dose up the population with the vitamins we need. It isn’t easy to be kind now, with the howling winter and gray skies this time of year. Kindness is energetically more difficult to conjure up and philosophically tougher to hand over when we aren’t at our best.
Is this true for you? Do you catch yourself feeling a little short of kind feelings for others when you’re a titch miserable?
I know it’s difficult to be generous when you feel rough. But that is exactly when we need to crank up the volume on kindness. It may be politeness, making a small effort for someone or just plain being nice; but your worst day is the best day to take chance on being kind.
Month two in my personal campaign for kindness reminds me that we need kindness more than ever when our resources are low – whatever that means. Depressed? Crappy news? Hit with a life crisis like job loss, a broken heart or personal disappointment? Illness? Weakness? Seasonal affective disorder?
In his rich ode to New York and his other loves, Bill Hayes writes that kindness is repaid in unexpected ways. He reminds us that “if you are lonely or bone-tired or blue, you need only come down from your perch and step outside,” in Insomniac City (2017). He’s right. Kindness is a good investment. It is a risk with an automatic reward. Nothing else in your life is as likely as this to make you feel good about yourself.
I wrote last month that I am tired of lowering my hopes for kindness around me, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to be a relentless philanthropist with my attempts to spread some warmth to those I have contact with every day. This is what I love about kindness. It pays back, even if the recipient doesn’t, because you genuinely like yourself more for doing it. Eye contact, a “Hi,” a well-intentioned holding of the door, picking up a dropped item or foot in the door of the subway train, will get you an instant injection of self-love faster than anything else I know.
Join me in my Personal Campaign for Kindness. I’m going to do kind things even though I may be having a rough day or a rotten week. In fact, I’m going to make an effort to be kind because I may be feeling less than stellar. Whether I get a warm and fuzzy reaction from people or not, I’ll put the good feeling I get in my bank for later. Chances are that the people I do nice things for will pay back instantly with some kindness of their own. But that isn’t necessary…it’s a bonus!!