Are you a nice person?
Nice people do nice things, just because.
Big things and little things
Things like making a meal for a new mom who wasn’t ready for the lack of sleep.
Sending a “thinking of you” father’s day text to a friend who lost their dad this year.
Going 20 minutes out of the way to pick up a cannoli from their sister’s favorite bakery.
Letting the mom who has a toddler melting down go in front of them in line.
Picking up a friend from the airport, even when it’s not convenient.
Not interrupting when their teenager is telling them a 20 minute story that just sounds like drama.
I think we would all agree that these are nice things to do, thoughtful things to do, and most of them take a little bit of sacrifice from the person doing them.
And we all do these things, or something like them, at some time or another. We do it because we care for the recipients AND we feel good ourselves when we do them.
When we come up with the idea to do a little act of kindness, we don’t even stop to think where the thought comes from. We think so quickly that the step that comes before doing something nice often goes unnoticed: the step of taking time to be aware of what someone is going through, assess the effect it is having on their life, and come up with some way that we can support them. Just like that. And the more we do it, the more automatic it seems to be. We get an idea and then in the same moment try and figure out where we are going to put it in our day. We problem solve for kindness.
However, this isn’t a musing on the benefits of being kind. While I do think there are people in the world who would benefit from such an education, I know that this isn’t you. As nurses (and as generally good people) we are already doing little acts of kindness every day.
Nope, this is more of a mind-bending exercise.
How great is it to be on the receiving end of someone’s unprecedented kindness? What if every day, someone did something just for us, JUST TO BE KIND? What if we could manipulate the universe to make this a guarantee for every single day!?!?!?!?
Wouldn’t that be lovely?
As fate would have it, I am a universe manipulator and I am ready to share my secrets with you.
My secret comes in the form of a question, and with one (or two) questions we can guarantee kindness in our lives EVERY SINGLE DAY.
What can I do to be kind to myself today? (Do not roll your eyes, you haven’t even tried it yet.)
Is there something I need or that can make my life a little better just for today?
Take a piece of paper and write it down, inserting your name instead of “myself”. I’m not sure why that works better, but it does.
Yes, I’m serious. Try it right this second.
“What can I do to be kind to Megan today? What little kindness can I do for her? Is there something she needs that would make everything go a little more smoothly?”
And then, answer the question. Write down the first 3 ideas that come to mind. You may surprise yourself.
This isn’t necessarily about getting an ice cream or taking a nap (although it could be), it may actually come down to reframing what you “should” do as something that you are doing out of love.
-I can make sure she gets outside for a few minutes at lunchtime.
-I can refrain from criticizing everything that Megan does.
-I can help her by choosing the food that supports the type of body and health that she actually wants.
-I can give her a pass on cleaning the bathroom if she is too tired when she gets home OR I can clean the bathroom so she has one less stress tomorrow.
It can all go in any direction you want.
It’s not about putting other people first and yourself last. It’s not about putting yourself over other people. It’s nothing so dramatic.
It’s just kindness.
Plain and simple.
And it feels great.
What little act of kindness are you going to do today?
Can you imagine what your life would look like if you actually were able to be kind to yourself every day? If you were able to listen to your own concerns with compassion and understanding rather than judgment or dismissiveness? If you want that to actually be your reality but need some help getting there, reach out and I can help you. Click here to pick a time.