Hello all! This is me, reporting in after Week 3 in the Kindness Challenge, which I stumbled upon at Niki’s site, which you can find here.
This week, I was to focus my energy on being kind. It’s more than just being kind, it’s radiating kindness.
Does this puzzle you as much as it did me?
It’s a bit of an abstract concept, so maybe we can find a more concrete way to think about it.
Let’s say you’re wandering down an unfamiliar street and can’t find your way to the nearest payday loan shop, where you were hoping to score some funds for your next tattoo. (Honestly, you need to put more thought into your financial decisions. I worry about you.)
You want to ask someone for directions and see these two people across the street. Who are you more likely to approach?
So the first one, we can all agree, radiates kindness, while the second one radiates something else entirely.
Now, it’s easy to say just slap a smile on your face and call it good, but that’s not how I understand it. I think this is more about embodying kindness, so your thoughts, actions and attitude come from a inner place of true kindness.
Anyway, this week was a little tricky for me, for the simple reason that my resting face tends to look more Trumpish than DalaiLamaish.
It’s not intentional. It’s just I usually have a lot on my mind and I’m thinking, you know? Usually about really serious things.
Like, why are there so many payday loan shops right next to liquor stores and tattoo parlors? I mean, someone needs to do something about that. Am I right?
Anyway, my goal this week was to try and focus on more pleasant inwardly thoughts, with the hope that my outward expression would reflect that, as well as to make occasional “facial attitude checks.”
It was an interesting week for me to put this into practice, let me tell you. Those of you who have followed this blog for any decent period of time know that I tend to be a fairly quiet, private person. You may also remember I work in a secretarial position in a large public high school.
This was the last week of school, so besides graduation and all the hoopla that entails, all teachers and staff — about 150 in total — had to stop at my desk to complete their final checkout.
I’m pleased to say that by and large, I like these people. Heck, I’ve even run into several of them outside of work and I didn’t mind! (For me, that’s saying a lot.)
But you know how there’s always a few people who just rub you the wrong way? Maybe you don’t actively dislike them, but they kind of annoy the heck out of you?
Well, I read an article a bit ago about this very thing. It said that since you can’t change the person who annoys you, your only option is change how you feel about them. Instead of thinking to yourself, “Ugh, here comes so-and-so. He always talks too much.” You think to yourself, “Here comes so-and-so. I bet he’s going to say something interesting today.”
It doesn’t change the interaction you have with so-and-so, but it changes your attitude and, quite possibly, your emotional state once the encounter with so-and-so is over. I tried this (when I remembered), and it worked really well.
Which brings to mind a conversation I had with our receptionist on how often the life we live – our level of happiness, our interactions with people, our ability to find beauty each day – is based on choice. We can choose to react to someone out of frustration or annoyance — or we can check ourselves, put a smile on our face, and greet them with kindness.
After one week of practicing this (with varying degrees of success), I can assure you that the kindness angle makes for a far more pleasant way of living.
No wonder the Dalai Lama always has a smile on his face. Looks like he’s on to something big. ❤