Kindness to Family + Friends

Today we’re continuing the #onekindsummer campaign on the pod. This is a full transcript of the episode which you can find HERE:

I’m on a 4-week break from posting interviews, but in the meantime I want to take a few minutes each week to think about how we can spread kindness this summer and beyond. I think we can all do with a bit more kindness in the world. This isn’t something more for your to-do list, and this isn’t something you need to do it perfectly. It’s just about showing up and being open if we choose to. So stay tuned if you’re interested. Interviews will resume on Tuesday, July 9th.

 It’s been great to see so many of you following along with this compassion series!

 Last week we started the campaign with self-compassion. Let me know how you did with that. It’s something I definitely need to continue to focus on. Today we’ll talk about how to be kinder toward those around us – our friends and family. This may seem easier than being kinder to ourselves. Or, maybe it’s harder. But, as we talked about last week, the Dalai Lama reminds us that we can’t truly be kind to others unless we are kind to ourselves first.  

 A lot of what I’m referencing today is from Angela Santomero’s book called, “Radical Kindness: The Life-Changing Power of Giving and Receiving.” She is the co-creator of Blue’s Clues and other hit children’s programs. Deepak Chopra says in his foreword that the book “offers the practical means for experiencing what can be called kindness consciousness.”

Before we dive in I just want to say that so often people say that kindness and humanity are diminishing. But, I’m not sure that’s the case. I think we as a society aren’t recognizing it like we once did, so it’s there, but we have to uncover it. Every time there is a natural disaster or emergency there are lots of stories of extreme kindness and generosity. We’ll always find what we’re looking for, so I love that idea of elevating a kindness consciousness. We have to trust that kindness will win out in the end, and we can be the ones to help usher that through.

 So, what is radical kindness? To quote from the book, “Radical kindness means rooting all you say and do in kindness, being unconditionally kind all the time, to everyone. It means going beyond situational niceness or merely “doing the right thing” and, instead, living from a place of compassion”

Santomero says that “being kind to others sound virtuous. But, to truly embrace radical kindness we need to move past the knowledge that we “should” be kind to others and actually see within others what they need.”

That’s easier to do when the person is pleasant, but leaves a challenge when someone is grouchy or snarky. But remaining compassionate in a negative encounter can really diffuse a situation. Santomero says that hitting a pause button is helpful. For example, if you walk into a mess in the living room, hit pause before yelling. Maybe there is a good reason that your child didn’t put away her toys. By pausing, we can turn what could be an unkind reaction into a kind one. This practice stops you from acting reflexively. By pausing, you give others the benefit of the doubt and value their experience alongside your own. We’re all traveling this world together and so we know that at times it can be challenging, upsetting, and frustrating. I know the smallest kindness can lift me out of these depths when I’m in them.

Santomero says that by valuing others and assuming the best of others is “heart-seeing” a practice that can be a guiding value in our lives. When we are a radically kind person, we “see” with our hearts allowing us to see what is invisible. It means that we see through a lens of trust, respect, love, patience, and warmth.

Here are a few more tips to try this week – and even beyond. We can’t make meaningful change in just one week.

--Give without expectation. Do something kind for your friends or family because you want to – and not because you expect something.

--Respect confidences. If someone tells you something, do not repeat it to other friends and family.   

--Try a Metta meditation. This is a loving kindness meditation where you direct a heart-based kindness to anyone of your choosing. There are many different scripts but they are similar to this one: May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.

 Another thing I like to do is visualize a string or light connected from your heart to someone else’s. A heart centered meditation focuses to connect with our hearts and is very effective.

--Micro shift. Santomero references Gary Jansen’s book which challenges us to take 15 minutes a day to shift how we view and approach the world and involves performing a small kind act for someone. Think of everything you can do in 15 minutes for someone.

--Give a kindness gift. I love this advice from Nina Badzin who was a guest on the show and writes a friendship column. We don’t need to measure friendship in tangible gifts. Instead, there are other ways to be giving. Nina writes, “I make old-fashioned phone calls and leave all kinds of voice memos, too. I also answer calls, ask for advice, and give advice when asked. I also introduce my friends to everyone I know both to help them professionally and socially.” I love this.

--See the inner child. I mentioned this last week – to be kinder we need to recognize the child in ourselves. By doing so we can then be kind like we would to a child. Santomero also recommends doing this with others. Imagine that person as child who is someone’s son or daughter.

--Show your gratitude. Yes, this works with others too. Being and showing gratitude for all you receive from others.

 I’d love to hear if you have any other tips or practices that help you. Be sure to use the hashtag #onekindsummer to show how you are spreading kindness and to recognize those who have made your life a little bit kinder.

If you are enjoying the show, I would be grateful if you would take a moment to rate or review it. If you are listening to Apple Podcasts, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and make one tap to leave a rating. You can also review the show, which helps more people to find it. Thanks everyone, I’ll see you next Tuesday.