It's been a month since I started my kindness project. So what have I learned?
I've learned that 140 characters isn't very many. I've learned that people define kindness differently. I've learned that reading and posting a great kindness quotation in the morning doesn't mean I'm going to be kind all day. I've learned that I can't be truly kind and cranky at the same time (although a kind moment can peek through a cranky cloud). I've learned that having a single focus for an entire day is tough.
I did not grow up in a house filled with kindness. I was not taught to be kind. I learned lots of good things in my home, but I wouldn't say kindness was one of them. I grew up in a home with a lot of sarcasm, a lot of yelling, a lot of fighting. Not always, of course, but those things stuck with me.
Kindness was something I found outside my home.
My grandmother was kind. There was something different about her that drew me in. An unconditional love. Did she talk to me about kindness? I don't remember. But she treated me kindly.
And I'd say that is how I learned kindness -- by others being kind to me. Kind people popped up in my life often. They were heroes to me. I wanted to be like them. To this day, truly kind people will always be a draw for me. It's like a magic power.
I've tried to be kind. Sometimes I've succeeded; sometimes, not so much. But I've really been struggling with it lately. Especially in my home.
That's why I chose this word. I want to be more kind. I want to feel it in my heart. I want to feel it so much that I can't contain it, that it is bursting from my seams. I want to radiate kindness.
I've been working on it for a month and I'm not there yet. Not even close. I go like gang busters for a while and then fall flat. Out comes the sarcastic remark or snotty comment. I can apologize (although I often don't), but that won't take back what I said.
Change is hard.
It's possible that some of my difficulty is because I'm struggling with my emotional/mental/physical health. It's always more difficult to be kind when I don't feel well.
Can I be kind when I am miserable? Is it possible?
I think so. I haven't proven it yet. The experiment goes on.
I'm going to broaden my word choice a bit. I'm going to include words which I feel connect to or are an aspect of kindness. Words like charity, respect, compassion. One word just wasn't enough to capture the change I'm looking for.