If you’re joining from StumbleUpon, welcome! This is the sixth post in the Others-oriented fruit of the Spirit series. The topic is kindness. Get future posts delivered to you for free by grabbing the RSS feed or email updates. Oh, and if you enjoy this, I’d love a thumbs up.
Kindness is subtle. Kindness is reading a book to a child or remembering to call on a friend’s birthday. Kindness is letting someone else into the restroom first.
Kindness is the #1 quality we desire in others. But because it’s so subtle, we rarely mention it. Or when we do mention it, it’s an afterthought like, “Well, at least she has a kind heart.” We say someone is kind when we can’t say anything else good about them.
No wonder it’s difficult to be kind. No one notices it – no one appreciates it as it should be appreciated.
So I’d like to say something very simple about kindness, particularly about responding to kindness in a way that magnifies it.
Responding to kindness with thankfulness
As you might have gathered already, I’m a fanatic about thankfulness. I think it’s the mechanism that motivates everything we do (or it should be).
But how do you currently respond to kindness? When a friend buys you lunch or a friend takes out your trash or a friend calls you to check in, how do you respond? Do you try to pick up the tab next time, to repay?
In our quest for independence, we squelch the kindness of others. “I appreciate it, but I don’t need you to do that.” How often have you said that? Or thought that? I think it all the time, and it comes from a selfish desire to control, to not depend on anyone. How can kindness spread when so few let it happen to them?
So how do you magnify someone’s kindness? You truly appreciate it. You accept it – you accept that in that moment, you are depending on someone else, that you really do need someone else.
You become thankful for kindness, regardless of how subtle it is.
(1) Pay attention. People are doing things for you everyday. You just might not notice it – or you might purposely avoid noticing it.
(2) Be insanely thankful for these acts of kindness shown to you. Act like a starving kid, and eat it up. Receive even the tiniest, subtlest gestures as you would a cruse in the Pacific.