Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. (Og Mandino)
I am currently working for and with a colorful sum of people, as freelancers tend to do. Communication is key- with any kind of relationship. I’ve learned early on that my way of living fits best with encouraging, giving back and paying it forward. In short: being kind. This goes for my personal and professional life. The easiness of the latter was shown to me by a dear friend I used to work summer camps for children with. She led with her ears and heart and she made you believe you mattered. She is still one of the people I look up to most, both professionally and personally.
I have a sensitive heart and hearing others be mean to each other sends my anxiety levels up, up and up. I’ve heard quite a lot of that recently at one of the offices I have business meetings in. The atmosphere was a little toxic, people were taking jabs at each other and I wanted to crawl up in a corner and create the tiniest ball of myself. Why is it so hard to find a speck of change of tone, grab some patience of the dusty shelf and use it once in a blue moon? That particular office would benefit from it and so would the planet.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. (Aesop)
I am also lucky enough to meet a lot of wonderful new people, start personal and business relationships with them and continue to work with those I’ve had for years. I know form personal experience that all relationships, both personal and professional, work a lot better if the underlying tone is one of kindness. In practice, this simply means that you write an actual “Hello!” at the beginning of an email instead of barking orders online and off, wishing them a lovely day and listening to them when they speak.
This also means smiling at a random stranger, wishing the sales lady a nice day or helping someone find their way through the streets.
You get so much and loose absolutely nothing.
People seem to think that kindness is expensive somehow. Sure, your path will cross with an occasional asshole on a vendetta against life itself and life doesn’t always serve unicorns shitting rainbows all over our days. But those are the situations where kindness matters most. They are situations were you grow from keeping yourself away from the toxicity and venomous vapors. Little, random acts of kindness help you grow, make you want to do more and be more.
Kindness is not the hard path. It’s the easy one.
It was awkward at first: wishing someone a kick-ass day, giving someone an extra big hug, telling people around me how proud I am of them, encouraging people, helping random strangers, wanting to help expand other people’s businesses and going the extra mile to do so and so much more. Now it’s necessary. I need all that because it makes me smile. I see the difference kindness brings to people around me: there’s a switch that turns on and a light that wasn’t there before shines through. The walls start to slowly come down and the wonderful colors of kind personalities emerge. It’s a sight to see.
Kindness brings forth kindness.
I have never regretted being kind to anyone, ever. I have, on the other hand, deeply regretted being mean to people. I’m not a saint and I have plenty of far from gracious moments. Those moments are never said or done because of malicious intent. I am, alas, only human.
If you take the time to think about how you feel after delivering a really low stab at someone you fully deem deserving, you’ll most probably see that is usually comes with an aura of crappy emotions and lumpy throats. We rarely feel good after bad situations: either on the receiving or giving end.
Have you ever, on the other hand, felt excited about a particularly well-planned birthday present for someone? It makes us happy just thinking about how happy the recipient will be and we can’t wait to see the joy we’ll be bringing into their day.
That’s the difference. Negativity brings negativity and the same goes for all things deemed wonderful. It’s not rocket science, but it has the capacity to save the world.
It’s as easy as that.