Jamming some purpose into your crazy day
I read somewhere that “everyone has a chapter that they don’t read out loud.” At first it seems like a kind of sobering thought. But what if we see it as an opportunity?
There are days that I run from thing to thing, work, errands, and then home to try and help my daughter finish her college applications. There are days when it is hard to find meaning or live to my best purpose, or quite frankly, even think about anything other than the task at hand. It is tempting in these moments to go to bed exhausted, praying for the weekend to get here quickly.
But what if we were able to build meaning and purpose, and the satisfaction of accomplishment into the day to day? Bring awareness to the moment instead of wishing it away. What if this was as easy as just being kind?
If we take a minute and remember throughout the day that the people around us all have chapters in their lives that they care with them, day in and day out. I certainly don’t want to make that chapter worse. Remembering that we aren’t all having the same experience can make being kind even easier. After all, the intrinsic nature of kindness is that it does not have the expectation of something in return.
What if you can be the tiny piece of kindness in someone else’s silent storm. Maybe you can be the little ray of sunlight that squeezes through the clouds. You may not know it, but to the person in the rain, that glimmer may be all the hope they need. It may be what gets them looking up again.
This kindness could be random, letting someone in front of you in line or holding the door open, or it could be more intentional, not having the last word, being patient when you need to explain something again, getting pepperoni on the pizza when you would rather have broccoli. It doesn’t have to be big. Either way, we get to feel the benefit of being kind, we can make the little things matter.
Now what if we can take it one step further? (You didn't think I was going to leave it at that, did you?)
What if we could turn this benevolent attitude inward? Be the giver AND receiver of kindness; have our cake and eat it too? (WHAT?!?!?!?)
What if we could show a little bit of unprovoked kindness to ourselves? What would that look like?
What can we do to lighten our own burdens?
For anyone who is rolling their eyes right now, I double-dog-dare you to try it.
BECAUSE IT’S SO FUN!
You can get warmed up with the easy things like stopping for a fancy coffee at starbucks, but the best is when you can uplevel the acts of kindness, when you can slip them in in ways that change your life. These sneaky ways to be kind to yourself may have a more lasting effect than a massage or a new magazine.
I bet some of these examples will surprise you and get you thinking.
Accepting a compliment.
Not leading with a self-deprecating remark or making fun of yourself
Getting enough sleep
Planning your time so you can be intentional with how you spend it
Doing something for 5 minutes to take a break and relax: listen to a favorite song, try meditation with an app, stretch for 5 minutes (that one is really good- who knew?)
Shutting down rumination over past decisions.
Making a goal
Saying no to something you don’t want to do. Don’t willingly drain yourself of the energy you do have!
Do something just because you want to.
Celebrating your wins. Many of us know the benefit of a daily gratitude practice but what if you actually looked for some wins each day, some self-gratitude as it were. What if you actually wrote down the good things you did? We always can recall the things that went wrong but what about the things that went right? This doesn’t have to be tough- it is just giving credit where credit is due. Some examples?
- Celebrating that I exercised yesterday
- Getting the stuff done on my to do list
- Going to bed at a decent time without having a bowl of ice cream first
- Not complaining at work
- Donating to a charity when checking out at Homegoods
- Forgiving someone
- Reaching out to an old friend on social media
- Listening to someone else’s story without having to tell my own
Kindness has a ripple effect whether we are kind to ourselves or to others.
We have an opportunity every single day to have a meaningful and satisfying day. Even when we work late, or run all over creation, or have a splitting headache.
Don’t rob the world of the greater good that is you by waiting to be an expert, or have the time, or know what to say. Sometimes you don’t need a greater purpose, kindness is enough.
Don’t believe me? Try it.
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