Photo Credit: Evan Brooks
How do you commit yourself to bring some light to the world each and every day? In what ways do you share compassion and kindness to those around you? Are you kind to yourself? These are all important questions that may lead you to a happier life, should you choose to reflect on them. This article will hopefully serve as a place to do exactly that; reflect on each of the questions, and perhaps provide some answers to them.
When we think of being kind, we most often associate that with how we treat others, but the fact is, it applies to ourselves as much as it applies to how we treat others. How we actually treat ourselves may impact our treatment towards others. A good rule of thumb is to show kindness to everyone, especially yourself.
According to an article published by Harvard Health Publishing, part of the Harvard Medical School, and written by Melissa Brodrick, “kindness starts with being kind to yourself. Ever notice how much better you treat others when you’ve taken care of yourself?”
The answer is, when we treat ourselves with kindness, we are more inclined to do the same towards others, which means everyone wins. Being kind to ourselves when it comes to work is important, as, “in a pressure-filled environment it’s easy to work through lunch, work through dinner and respond to emails at 11 p.m. But the world often rights itself when we take a moment to breathe, assess what we need and seek it.” Meaning, we should take time to be kind to ourselves through breaks, a good meal, perhaps doing an activity of your choice you find enjoyable like watching your favorite show. No matter what you choose, “be kind to yourself,” especially “when you misstep, which happens to everybody. Setting upon ourselves may cause collateral damage, making others the target of the anger or frustration or disappointment that we really feel about ourselves.”
We all make mistakes, some more often than not, but it is imperative that we do not lash out when we make them, and instead seek to learn from our mistakes.
When we are made at ourselves, we tend to lash out at others, the solution is to ensure we understand and learn instead. It is also important to note that “everyone has challenges, many hidden from sight.” You never know what someone is going through, and vice versa, for example: “if you knew that your coworker delivering the curt response to a question or the snarky critique of a project had recently learned of a serious illness in their family, wouldn’t you cut them some slack? And better yet, might you then want to reach out with support?”
Know when not only you need help and to be shown some kindness, but when others need some too. Be vigilant and understanding for individuals that may be acting out of their normal ways, and reach out when you can.
Should we begin with compassion, and recognize “…our shared human condition,” we can then create a better, kinder world for everyone. In other words, “compassion can guide us to acts of kindness.”
According to a lecture published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, and performed by Nigel Mathers, “Kindness should be central to our engagement with others (for example, in the consultation) because it is central to healing.” Most people do not wake up thinking about how they will be kind today, granted, we should ask ourselves, as Benjamin Franklin did every morning, what good we can accomplish that day.
Most people, when they give blood, will never know who their blood goes to, but we hope it goes to help someone live and survive in the shared world we all inhabit. When you commit yourself to random acts of kindness each and every day, soon enough it won’t be random; rather your daily exercise of bringing light to the world.
Evan Brooks is a fourth-year Business Management major with minors in Economics and Civil and Professional Leadership EB916132@wcupa.edu.