As someone with a bunch of siblings, it’s not uncommon to hear “Hey, be nice!” yelled throughout the house on any given day. Sometimes it’s hardest to love the people who are closest to you; whether it’s your little sister begging you to play with her for the millionth time while you’re trying to write a paper that you procrastinated on, or it’s your mom asking you to clean up the kitchen when all you want to do is continue binge watching that one TV show. However, I think we can all agree that they are the ones who will stick with us through thick and thin, so it’s important to start our kindness with them! I have had so much fun developing genuine friendships with my siblings due to small acts of kindness that I am now much more aware of.
I was recently super sick for about 5 days, and I witnessed some amazing examples of kindness within my family. My 10 year old sister gave me a get-well-soon card despite my crabby tendencies while fighting a fever. My mom nursed me back to health even though I was not the easiest patient to deal with. While some would argue that a card and a nurturing mother are just basic courtesies during sickness, they chose to love and be kind to me despite my behavior.
Now any of you that have sisters close in age will understand the struggle of sharing (or stealing) each other’s clothes, and as trivial as it sounds, this is a HUGE point of conflict in my house. For me, a super noticeable and appreciated act of kindness is when my sister will do something as simple as let me wear her shoes. A key point of growing in kindness is to see from the other person’s perspective! Our mutual understanding about sharing clothes is now translated into offering each other a shoulder to lean on or a hand to hold when life gets tough.
I have found that random acts of kindness are the best way for me to communicate love in my daily life. As a perfectionist, it can be hard for me to hand out small, “imperfect” morsels of kindness, especially when I feel like I could give someone something bigger and better in the future. However, I’ve realized that when I have that mindset, I am usually thinking about monetary kindness or gift giving! Sometimes the kindest actions are just a simple hug or coffee date. Kindness is not complicated and random acts of kindness should not be stressful! I try to be spontaneous and make just one new person smile every day!
Kindness creates a sort of ripple effect. Love yourself and you will immediately want to share that love with others, and they will spread that received love, and so on. These ripples don’t have to be created by a boulder or tidal wave- drop a pebble of Christian love into the waters of the world and see how far the ripples go!
Mother Teresa gave us some advice about the struggle of loving others and showing kindness to all: “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”
1). Be kind to others and yourself.
2). Train your mind to kind thoughts as well as your hands to kind actions
3). Make someone new smile today!!! :)
Image via Hannah Faith Photography