Kindness is one of the simplest gifts you can give to others and yourself. Showing that you care, especially in this fast-paced world, is important, but requires mindfulness. Small acts of kindness, like looking into someone’s eyes, saying hello, or saying thank you, can make a dramatic difference in mood and attitude. When you notice someone upset or angry, pausing to ask, “Is there something that I can do for you?” creates a shift in energy and fosters connections.
This kindness should extend to yourself, as well. In the middle of the rush to another email or errand, when you realize that you haven eaten or sipped water, take a pause. We are not meant to keep going at an unrelenting pace. Taking a few minutes, or longer, to eat, drink, and step outside the bustle for a bit will allow you to return to your tasks with better focus.
Just before an important presentation I was making last week, something unexpected happened. I took the morning at a slower pace than I usually do, got up a bit later, and still got in my walk and meditation, then went off to the shower. Calm, peaceful. Half dressed and coiffed, the power went out. Panic set in with disbelief. No, no, no!! This was important! My power rarely goes out – VERY rarely! And now????? Whaaaaattttt????
I chose self-kindness and a lot of breathing. I could have quickly gone into beating myself up over why I didn’t get my ducks in a row first – this was an important presentation, after all! But after the brief panic, I used some energy and breathing techniques and a conversation with myself – ‘you’ve got this Cyn…’ and off I went.
I packed up my makeup, hairdryer, and laptop and went to a friend’s house where I always have access. I prepped and set up my laptop, and the presentation went off without a hitch. I let the folks know who joined me what had happened – we all had a bit of a giggle. This is “Breathing Spaces,” by the way….
Panic and anger can rise quickly, but they are fleeting, and they do you more harm than good. So, too, does ignoring the person next to you who may have just lost a loved one, and reacts to a jarring presence with angst and fear. Okay, rushing in front of someone isn’t nice to do anyway, but stop and think about what someone else may be going through before you jaunt about your day with only attention to YOUR inner self.
Pause. Breathe. Be mindful. Be kind. Say hello. Hold a door open for a stranger, and keep one open for yourself, too.