Science now supports the physiological effects of kindness on not only the body and emotions of the receiver but also on the giver as well. Kindness causes us to feel better! I often say to my clients, “don’t wait for science to prove what you already know from personal experience.” The validation science offers is wonderful but even without it most people already know that kindness makes the giver and receiver feel better. When we pay attention to our own experience (something many people are NOT taught to do) we realize that kindness can affect us mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
I see it happen all the time. When one person acts in a kind way in the supermarket line (letting the person with 2 items move in front of them because they have 40 items) I notice other people automatically being more kind as well. Kindness is an energy form and like everything else has a magnetizing quality to it. It is contagious because I believe at the core of being human is being kind and it’s natural. It’s when our core is covered over by negative experiences, poor memories, and long held beliefs/attitudes that kindness can seem non-existent. Take a good look at yourself. Even if you’ve acted in an unkind way toward yourself or others it’s not a real reflection of who you are underneath is it? One act of kindness can re-awaken the great power that is already within us and it can do this very quickly.
I’ve also been focused on being what I call being “Consciously Kind” as a daily habit. Kindness takes practice like anything else because we don’t always feel like being kind do we? As a conscious choice though, it completely alters my attitude toward myself and others. Here’s a story provided me by a good friend. He says:
I ran into a friend and former business partner I haven’t seen in 4 or 5 years and he told me he was running a marathon in Hawaii in two weeks. When I asked him if he was paying his way to Hawaii he told me he had been collecting “pledges” from others to be used for the Aids Foundation (the sponsor of the marathon) and if he collected $3,400 dollars they would foot the travel/lodging expenses. I asked him how close he was to his goal and in he said “$80.00 away”. “Do you think you’ll get it?” I asked. “I don’t know, the closer I get the tougher it is” he replied. I pulled out my checkbook and wrote him a check for $85 as we both stood at the checkout counter (I had to put him $5 over the goal!).
I’ll never forget the look on his face. His eyes moistened and his face told the whole story. He put his hand on his chest tapping his heart as if to say “deep thanks!” The cashier and other people in line all had “palpable” good feelings just by witnessing this. I didn’t realize who was watching and I certainly didn’t do it to be noticed. It was just such a spontaneous action I almost HAD to take because I had been “working” on being more kind in general.
As he was telling me how much he appreciated what I was doing I told him he was doing ME a favor as this allowed me to practice being kind and it felt good!
Kindness is a conscious act. Keep the kindness flowing!
©2005 By David Breslow/Speaker/Coach/Author