A Simple Act of Kindness

No act of kindness is wasted - 585

Hello and Happy 2013!

I hope you and yours enjoyed a wonderful holiday season and have ramped up for a great year ahead.

It’s been eons since my last post.  I got caught up in all the holiday prep, then unplugged for the most part until after New Years, and am now finally crawling out from under Christmas decorations, holiday chaos and work deadlines.

So glad to be writing again.

And, now that we’re past the awesome-yet-exhausting Christmas season, it’s no coincidence that I came across a great post by Ida Mae West-Simone, writer of the insightful blog A Vision For Our Kids.  The post is called It all comes down to kindness, and it really resonated with me.

It was a timely reminder that although busyness often consumes us, we must remember the importance of kindness.

I find that it’s so easy to plow through our daily lives in survival mode, not picking up on the signs that our kids need extra attention, a stranger needs a helping hand or a friend needs an ear.

One of my goals this year is to be more present.  When you’re living in the moment, you notice so much more going on around you, like opportunities to be kind to others.

Kindness feeds the soul… of the recipient and the giver.

Ida Mae points out that her relatives from generations past somehow managed, with busy and full households (her grandparents had seven kids), to pass along the values of kindness and positivity.

So, with the smaller family sizes today, we should be able to do the same with our kids, right?

A Challenge
Here’s a kindness challenge for you (and for me).  It won’t cost you anything except a tiny bit of your time, and believe me, it’s time well spent.

Ready?  Here it is:

LISTEN.

That’s it.  Easy, right?

Listen to someone.  Anyone.  Your child, your significant other, a friend, coworker, stranger.

What to do (yes, “listening” sounds obvious, but humour me):

  • Stop everything you’re doing and pay attention to the person you’re listening to
  • Look into their eyes
  • Don’t just hear them speaking, but really listen to what they have to say
  • Notice their body language
  • Try to determine the meaning behind their words
  • Help them feel understood.

What NOT to do when listening:

  • Check your mobile phone/text messages/emails
  • Walk away as you’re listening
  • Run through your to-do list in your head
  • Do the dishes, make supper, do laundry, tidy up
  • Anything else that distracts you while you’re sharing the conversation.

This won’t be realistic for all conversations, but it’s a great starting point.  And hey, it’s kind of self-serving:

  • You get to really connect with someone and maybe learn something new about them (my 6-year-old is always surprising me)
  • You slow down enough to actually experience the moment
  • You help someone else feel valued and important.

Starting now, I’m going to make a more conscious effort to REALLY listen to people.

How about you – are you in?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer Laurent January 11, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Love this post Christine!! And I am in…. going to consciously Listen to those around me. Thank you for the inspiration!!

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christineonthebrighterside January 15, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Thanks Jenn! Glad you’re in! 🙂

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Ida Mae West-Simone January 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Count me in…and thank you for this beautiful post. When you think about it, listening really is such a gift (so affordable too, particularly as the Christmas bills start coming in! 😉 )

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christineonthebrighterside January 15, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Thanks so much, Ida Mae! I agree, it is a gift – I find I learn so much when I slow down enough to actively listen!

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Anne January 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm

What a good reminder of what I mean to do and often don’t do very well.

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christineonthebrighterside January 15, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Thanks Anne! I find I have to remind myself constantly to ‘turn off’ the distractions and actually listen. Thanks for commenting!

Reply

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