It was New Year’s eve, we were in a pub, just past midnight. A friend asked everybody around the table what their resolutions for the year were. I hadn’t really formulated that for myself yet, so I decided to make them up on the spot, one of them was to be kinder.
Kindness, to me, is an important aspect on my yoga path. It’s a labour of love when you really want to be serious about it, in all areas of your life. It can be painstaking, but your time and thoughtfulness are never wasted. Some practice karma yoga and seva – selfless service – which is quite admirable.
There are many opportunities in your life to make more mindful decisions and be purposefully kind to yourself and others.
Here are a few reminders and suggestions :
- Metta: why not practice this Buddhist loving-kindness meditation? You can learn it at your local Buddhist center.
- You first: as Metta meditation teaches us, kindness starts with yourself. If you treat yourself well, you’ll treat others better. Be more aware of your inner judge on the mat, at home, at work, and practice acceptance.
- At home: with your loved ones, be more understanding of their shortcomings, more patient and compassionate. Try to really feel how it is to walk in their shoes. Listen to them mindfully. Say yes more often: do things that are not your cup of tea, but that will make them happy. Cook them healthy and tasty meals!
- At work: make tea, coffee and maybe home-made cookies for your co-workers. Offer your help if you see that they are busier than you are.
- Your yoga mates: try to ‘shine your heart’, radiate positive energy and loving-kindness during your class practices.
- Difficult people: I find ‘kill them with kindness’ quite harsh and rather passive aggressive. Compassion is a more constructive way, even if it can seem tricky. This post on Tiny Buddha gives good advice.
- Your planet: you can always go greener, so think of all the tiny – but never insignificant – eco-friendly decisions you can make in your everyday life. Here’s a good inventory of things that make a difference.
- Animals and plants: adopt a rescue pet, volunteer at an animal charity, buy a plant and take care of it.
- Random acts: be a discreet hero, and be randomly – and maybe sometimes secretly – kind to strangers, friends, family. Why not signing up for daily suggestions?
Above all: mean it. Be creative and inspired, make it fun, and remember that sometimes the simplest act of kindness is just to smile more often! 🙂