Me in the Middle of Week 7 Reflection ~ Grateful for Kindness

-Kindnessis a powerful reminder that behind all the negativity and malice, there lies goodnessthat has the powerto change the world.- (1)

Week Seven ~ Grateful for Kindness

The seventh prompt for the Kindness Challenge 2017 is Grateful for Kindness.

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This quote reminds me that there is always hope.  There’s so much unkindness and hatred in the world ….. and yet I still believe in our innate goodness.  Life is good and I’m grateful for kindness.  We may not always live up to that kindness …. and we keep on trying.  

The poem, “Children Learn What They Live”, always makes a lasting impression on me every time I read it.  Just beginning to change with this one poem would give this old world a jump-start on the road to becoming kinder.  None of us have had a ‘perfect’ childhood, and some have even seen abuse in their lives, yet we can all find threads of kindness along the way that we can be grateful for:

Children Learn What They Live
by Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte

*From Psychology Today*

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83-Yr-Old Was Too “Terrified” To Ride Escalator, Until A Kind Young Man Took His Arm.

“A little redemption for the suffering human soul.

The older man was paused at the top of an escalator and a few people started gathering waiting to get on. It was clear he was feeling unsure and this young man offered the simplest kindness: an outreached arm and a ‘can I help you on, sir?’

He quietly started to explain to the young man that he had gotten stuck on an escalator once and was a little scared. The young man gently offered an assurance, they looked at each other eye to eye for just a moment and the older man accepted his arm. Everyone else remained patient.

So, so sweet to witness!

In about an hour, the evening news will air and we’ll be reminded of division, political mud-slinging, shootings and other heartaches. But today, violence, age, politics and other social lines were blurred and one person simply helped another. I wanted to hug both of them.

Whoever this young man is, YOUR FAMILY RAISED YOU RIGHT! THANK YOU!

So, please look for the silver linings – as I was so fortunate to witness this evening.”

 

Thank You Kindness

* Images by Pixabay

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Me in the Middle of Week 6 Reflection ~ Kindness Without Expectation

Kindness Canva Diana

Week Six ~ Kindness Without Expectation

The sixth prompt for the Kindness Challenge 2017 is Kindness Without Expection.

Diana, Princess of Wales, was one of my kindness role models.  Her life was lived by ‘daring greatly’.  The royal family was forever changed by the way she chose to live her life within the role of princess.  A favorite role model of Diana’s was Mother Teresa.  It was that inspiration that puts the most meaning into the above quote.   Both of them seemed to have mastered the art of making kindness a way of life.  If you read anything about their lives you realize that not always was their kindness returned or appreciated.  They seemed to have developed an ability to shake off these negatives and not let it influence their commitment to act with compassion and let go of expectation.  Not an easy thing to do.  Lessons learned ~ move on.

In my own life, I think sometimes kindness was a mixture of doing kind things in hopes of reaping some of the rewards that comes with the acts along with a desire to be there for others at a time of need.  “One hand washes the other.” ….. “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”  …….. “What goes round comes round.”  ….. “One good turn deserves another.”  This, in turn, had me focusing a bit more on what I might be getting out of the encounter instead of ‘random acts of kindness’ and letting go.  

Then I realized I didn’t like what was going on inside me when this happened.  It was taking away the joy and goodwill that I felt when I did something for someone.  I’ve found that through making a decision to act out of kindness and then letting go of whether it was reciprocated or not I’ve gained a sense of freedom.  The freedom to dare greatly and live greatly without being hindered by the tendency to judge others.

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

~ Mother Teresa ~

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“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” ~Samuel Johnson

~ 20 ways to give without expectations ~ The Tiny Buddha

buddha pixabay

Images by Pixabay

Me in the Middle of Week 5 Reflection ~ Choose Kindness ~

If you have to choose between being kind and being right choose being kind and you will always be right2

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Week Five ~ Choosing Kindness

The fifth prompt for the Kindness Challenge 2017 is Choosing Kindness.

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When I read the Week Five Prompt, I realized that Niki had chosen the same song that I had chosen for my Letter K for Kindness in the A to Z Challenge.  It’s a different video than the one I chose so I decided to use mine again in this post.

You can see my Letter K for Kindness here.

Sometimes when making a commitment to choose kindness, especially during these tense political times, we can be perceived negatively.  Choosing kindness is seen as a cop out from joining the fray in both personal misunderstandings and political misunderstandings…….  Kindness and setting healthy boundaries can be seen as being weak or ‘passive-aggressive’ instead being seen as an attempt to show tact and diplomacy while standing up for your opinions.  I’ve decided not to be swayed from my choice not to join the fray and instead to choose kindness.   Others will choose to see you in a certain way no matter how you present yourself.  Choosing to be kind over needing to be right takes a self-acceptance and an ability to let go of control.  Choosing to be kind over needing to be right recognizes when there’s no longer an openness and respect for differing opinions.  Choosing kindness really requires a maturity and strength.

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“Sometimes I lay under the moon and thank God I’m breathing ~

Then I pray don’t take me soon cause I’m here for a reason.”

Spread Kindness

“i want to be so kind it echoes backwards in time and undoes the things that hurt you.  i want to be so kind it radiates from me.  i want to be so kind that i make someone else find faith in humanity again.   There’s not much i can do,  i’m small and weak and i only know so many words. but i know i can be kind. and sometimes, i believe, that changes the world.”

~ inkskinned ~

Me in the Middle of Week 4 Reflection ~ Kindness Role Model

 

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

(Albert Schweitzer, 1875 – 1965)

Row_of_candles

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 Week Four ~ Kindness Role Model

The fourth prompt for the Kindness Challenge 2017 is Kindness Role Model.

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So many down through the years have been kindness role models for me.  It’s hard to single out just one person.  It’s difficult to be the one and only kindness role model for others because, inevitably, we won’t always measure up to that role because we are human.  Sometimes we need to be unkind in order to be kind and sometimes others need to be unkind to us in order to be kind.  (Do I really mean that? 😉 )  

My earliest and forever kindness role model would be my mother.  I am blessed to have had her example.  My father was also a man of kindness and gentleness.  I don’t recall either of them treating anyone in a overtly nasty or unkind way.  They had strong principles and beliefs, and definitely drew the line on others who might think and believe differently yet I never heard them express their disapproval in hurtful and ugly ways.  It was mostly done in thoughtful ways.

One memory of kindness that stands out was when I messed up at my piano recital and couldn’t remember the rest of the song.  I must have been about nine or ten.  When we returned home my father sat down with me and encouraged me to play the song all the way through so I’d know that I could do it.  I felt supported by his kindness.

Down through the years there were many who displayed kindness along the way. There was one time when I was walking home from Brownies when it was beginning to get dark outside.  A dog ran up to me and blocked my way, growling and barking.  I was paralyzed by fear.  A teenage boy rode up to me on his bicycle and chased the dog away.  I didn’t know who he was, and just rushed on home, relieved he was there to help.  A kind act I still remember!

My family ~ my siblings ~ my children ~ my grandchildren …….. so many acts of kindness I couldn’t even begin to list them.  Many, many friends and acquaintances down through the years who offered a kind and supportive hand during good times and bad, offering words of inspiration just at the right time to give me hope.

I’m going to risk treading into an area that’s a hot-button issue right now only because I strive to look for the goodness and kindness during times when these issues rise up.

For the last ten years I’ve had neighbors across the way who have offered me kindness and support.  They are a Muslim family who have reached out to me and I was privileged to get to know.  I was invited to their home when each child was welcomed into the world.  We would share customary foods with each other during our traditional holidays.  When I had surgery the children would bring over offerings of food to cheer me up.  I was truly blessed with knowing them and learning from them.  Recently they’ve returned to Indonesia to live near relatives.  They have dual-citizenship.  They never said an unkind word about what was happening politically here in our country yet the father shared with me their fear of what was developing.  I think of them often now and hope they are happy in their new home.

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Over the recent months things have developed in unsettling ways.  None of us know where it’s all leading to.  Many of us were deeply touched by three kind and courageous souls who intervened on the behalf of two young girls who were being harassed and bullied.  The account was heart-breaking.  The two who died because of this encounter were bright lights at a time when we most need the light.  One man survived the attack and will be a witness to the power of kindness in his living.  I’m including a link to a well-written account of what happened.  It’s difficult to read:

Portland MAX hero’s last words: ‘Tell everyone on this train I love them’

“I just kept telling him, ‘You’re not alone. We’re here,” Macy said. “What you did was total kindness. You’re such a beautiful man. I’m sorry the world is so cruel.”

“When I said ‘pray with me,’ he just closed his eyes and tried to keep breathing,” she recalled.

Medics put Namkai-Meche on a stretcher. Macy stayed by his side. Before he was carried away, he had a last message, she said: “Tell everyone on this train I love them. ”

“Angels walks among us …..

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“We could actually soothe our fearful, angry culture if each of us were more mindful of being kind.  Kindness is not easy.  It takes thought and a commitment to watching how we treat each other.”

Always Model Kindness, Especially to Children

Me in the Middle of Week 3 Reflection ~ Self-Acceptance

 Kind Balance

 Week Three ~ Self-Acceptance

The third prompt for the Kindness Challenge 2017 is Self-Acceptance.

 I’ve accepted the fact that, at times in my life, I’ve loved too much.  While attempting to be the ‘perfect’ daughter’, the ‘perfect’ wife, the ‘perfect’ mother, etc., I’ve given over my power to others who might not deserve that trust.  In accepting this about myself, I’ve made a commitment to myself to trust my intuition and my need to set healthy boundaries and take a stand for myself.

How many times do I second-guess myself?  Let me count the ways!  At those time when I haven’t had confidence in myself and haven’t trusted my own decisions, I’ve contributed to co-dependent relationships by looking to others for affirmation.

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.”  

~ Anne Lamott ~

Trying to be perfect keeps us from really finding joy in our lives.  Whether it comes from the way we’ve been raised as a child or from our expectations of ourselves now as adults, perfectionism holds us back from spontaneity and being more emotionally responsive to others.  “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never achieve it.”  Salvador Dali

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Lessons Learned from Week One and Week Two

********************Kindness owards ourselves

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I get the ‘do unto others’ part and realize I need to put a little more into the ‘as you would do unto yourself’ part.  The Self-Love Reflection (Week One) helped me to realize that I struggle with the awareness that some have too little self worth and are too selfless, while others have too much narcissism and take advantage of the kindness of those who are too nice.  Sometimes you can leave yourself behind when loving others.  It’s about balance.  I’m learning to set healthier boundaries and not give too much power to those who might not deserve it.  Nice place to be!  🙂

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“Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.”

~ Brene Brown ~

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I never thought of Self-Compassion (Week Two) as a letting go of perfectionism.  And yet there it was in my own words ……………..“I was just thinking that when I internally feel self-compassion I’m comforted by those thoughts. It’s when I verbalize them to others that I sometimes feel the person hearing me is thinking I’m making excuses for myself.” ………………It made me realize that part of Self-Compassion is believing you’re worthy of that compassion and it’s not a weakness when you are being kind and gentle with yourself.   It really doesn’t matter what others are thinking or saying.  We’re never going to be ‘perfect’ and we’re never going to be able to avoid the possibility of criticism and judgment from others.

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~ You’re allowed to be both a Masterpiece and a Work in Progress simultaneously ~

Joanne Sharpe's Class 1

© Sketch by Mary Lou

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