At home in Portland, Oregon or traveling around the world, there is an element in my life that remains constant – the demonstration of kindness – give and take.
Kindness is giving without an expectation of return. When you give freely without expectation, it can come back to you in some very unpredictable ways. What we put into the world has a powerful influence on what we receive.
Simply being nice to other people because you believe that this will manipulate them into giving you what you want in life, or as a means of controlling them, is not kindness. Kindness is not about self-interested politeness, calculated generosity or superficial etiquette.
What goes around comes around – and with kindness it really does.
While traveling I have encountered and witnessed many acts of kindness from smiles, hugs, listening to a new friends story, given a seat on the bus, help with the internet, offered a piece of gym equipment without asking, to receiving extra homemade tortillas, salsa and guacamole – because I have become obsessed in eating this triple threat every day!
Research shows that being kind to others increases our own levels of happiness as well as inspiring others.
“One kind act is better than a thousand kind thoughts.”
Kindness is contagious. Kindness has its true source deep within you, and while some people are innately kind, it’s something that everyone can cultivate by choice.
After traveling this past year to Guatemala, Italy and Mexico I am no longer lost in translation with converting the US $ to Quetzal, Euro or Peso’ – kindness is my new currency – the return on investment has been amazing!
5 suggestions to help you develop kindness in your life:
- Acknowledge people’s presence. Make eye contact, nod or say hi or smile!
- Hold doors for people who have their hands full.
- Greet people when you walk into work in the morning.
- Thank people who help you throughout the day, like your family, friends, the bus driver, barista or restaurant server, doorman, mail carrier or UPS driver.
- Offer people food, water, or something else when you see a need that could be met.