There are times when I am sure you wonder how kindness can survive in a world full of suffering. After all of the scars we pick up from life, how could there be any room for kindness to breath. To be honest, kindness takes an effort to maintain. It is easy to give in to the feelings of betrayal and sadness. We then shield ourselves to prevent us from getting hurt. It is that shield that we need to pay attention to. Even though it helps to protect our heart, it can also block it. Here are some tips to balance that shield.
There is a quote about crossing oceans only for people who care about you. I feel that method limits your heart. It is not about being a door mat, but you cannot allow an unknown response determine your behavior. Being generous with your effort and kindness will always bring good karma back to you, regardless of how the other person reacts to you. We hesitate to do this because we get attached to what we are giving. Have you noticed how you might not think twice about sending a donation, but will talk yourself out of personally caring for someone else when there is no guarantee the kind gesture will be reciprocated? You need to re-focus that attachment. Understand that your kindness is not shared for others to like you, but to help make the world feel less cold.
Life can freeze your heart without you realizing it. I sometimes joke that I have the heart of a 5-year-old and the memory of an elephant. Thus, I care too much, I feel everything very deeply, and I get hurt more often than people realize. Subconsciously, I found myself building a bigger shield and then wondering why I felt haunted by dark clouds. My shielded comfort zone was suffocating and consistently blocked me from opportunities. It might sound selfish, but being open with your kindness is not only about what you do for other people. It is about being a better you. I feel we were all given gifts to share through kindness. My heart has not grown a day older and my memory has not faded, but I am learning how to embrace my gift and share it in a way that protects me without holding me hostage.
How have I done this, you ask? For 2016, I feel like I have pushed outside of my comfort zone further than I have ever done in my life. By initiating conversations, extending invitations, and just showing up, I created opportunities to share my kindness. It can be a subtle thing, like giving a compliment, or a bigger thing, like volunteering your time. None of it is based on how others respond, but just a simple gesture to show you care.
Once you master this gesture of open kindness, you will definitely want to broaden your horizons. Here are some initiatives to check out:
- The Compliment Project: canvas your community in compliments to share kindness.
- Do Something: join a campaign to impact social change.
- TakePart: Learn about news and lifestyle to take action.
The shield you build for your heart should protect it to live longer, not block it from its purpose. The power behind kindness connects us to be a better person individually and make the world a more loving place collectively. How are you sharing kindness? Do you know of any other initiatives to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.
Wearing: H&M blazer; New York & Company vest; The Limited blouse; The Limited pants; DSW shoes; Vintage scarf; Aldo earrings; DSW purse