The Gift of Kindness

At this time of year, we are all thinking about what gifts to give. And as I sit down to make my list, the first thing I can think of is kindness. When I do retreats, I ask participants what word they would get if they were to get a single word intention tattoo. I do not have a tattoo. But if I were to get one, I think I would choose kindness. We are living in the most divisive world right now. A time where we are all divided and hostile towards opposing views. And as a self proclaimed optimist, I think we can end this cycle. People are tired of the fighting, of the disdain. I believe in my heart of hearts that we as human beings would rather connect than combat.

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the idea that small causes (as small as the flap of a butterfly wing) can cause large far reaching ripple effects on the weather. I believe we have that same potential to change the climate of how we treat one another.

You could honk at the person who is holding up traffic. Or you can see it as a moment to take a breath.

You could rush to the first open grocery checker. Or you can let the mom with screaming kids go in front of you.

You could fight with your father in law about your differing political beliefs. Or you can share a piece of your heart instead of a piece of your mind.

Which feels better?

In this season of giving, consider giving kindness first.

Not only to those you love but even to a random stranger. A random act of kindness will be the gift that keeps giving. You’ve heard the stories of paying for a person’s coffee behind you, and then that person is inspired to do a random act of kindness for someone else, and then it just spreads! Recipients of kindness generally want to keep it going. It’s like a domino effect of warm fuzzy feelings.

Kindness is not only a gift to the person you bestow it on; it is also a gift for you. You will continue to feel better when you are thoughtful, when you pay it forward, when you extend a warm greeting. It’s contagious! One word of kindness can change someone’s entire day. Kindness is truly how we can change the world.


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