Dr. Romancewrites: Recently, I went through very unpleasant and difficult dental work, and the outpouring of kindness I received -- from my husband, who held onto my ankle all through the two and a half hours (and had nightmares that night about it) to my dear friends, who offered me support and encouragement to heal and take care of myself – made me feel blessed, despite the pain. I don’t think there’s a greater happiness in life than knowing the people who love you are there for you.
We can cry together when loss is inevitable; and fight together when there's a chance something can be changed for the better. We can go for a walk, and share an hour of stories and mutual ideas. Contrary to the currently popular notion that what you have is more important than anything else, I find that who I know, who cares about me, and who is there for me makes the difference in how well my life goes.
I have a textile art piece in the hall outside my office – a beautiful quilt square by Cynthia A Morgan – containing the following quotes about kindness:
“One kind word can warm three winter months” – Japanese proverb
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see” – Mark Twain
“Forget injuries; never forget kindnesses” – Confucius
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate” – Albert Schweitzer
“That best portion of a good man’s life; his little nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love” – Wm. Wordsworth
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” – Aesop
“The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves” – Amelia Earhart
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” – Dalai Lama
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness Kindness in giving creates love” – Lao Tzu
Spreading kindness is the best way I know to be happy. If you want to spread kindness around, here are some ideas:
*Kindness begins on the inside – learn to be as kind in talking to yourself as you are to others – then, keep improving. Self-talk sets the bar for the happiness in your life.
*Letters, e-mails, notes and cards expressing kind words to your friends, kids or spouse and family, even when you live together or nearby. Getting uplifting messages will inspire anyone’s day.
*When you know someone who is ill, bereaved, down or needs help; get together with other friends and work together to get them what they need: whether it’s a meal, some company, or errands run.
*So many of us are lost about how to help a friend in times of grief; but all that’s really needed is a little kindness and a listening ear. Grief needs a witness, and you can listen sympathetically.
* Don’t forget to express your gratitude, beginning with the simple "Magic Words" -- please and thank you. Manners are social lubricant -- they hold society together, and they show respect to others. There's respect for self (treating oneself as you would a good friend), respect for family and friends, respect for differences, like other cultures, races, religions. There are certainly rewards for kindness. It lubricates social connections, and lays a foundation for love, friendship, business success and social recognition in your own life.
* One of the kindest things you can do for yourself is to keep a positive outlook and see the silver lining. Often we feel unlucky because we aren't noticing the luck we have. Even if something bad has happened, such as the loss of someone dear, the fact that you had such a person in your life was lucky, or having something to lose, in the first place, is lucky. By all means, express grief for your loss, but also remember the gift that you had whatever time with that person before the loss.
* Every gift is an expression of love, and every giver should be thanked graciously, no matter what the gift is. Whether you’re giving or receiving, what counts is the thought, not the value.
May you give and receive kindness as much as possible – it will make you happy.