There's a lot of negative stuff going on in the world today, and it's really easy to find yourself getting dragged into that kind of mindset. To get caught up in the whirlwind of criticising and poking fun at public figures who are acting in ways that we find unacceptable, or to criticise and vilify complete strangers on social media. To feel like it's OK to do that when these people engage in behaviour that is particularly offensive to us. But the reality is, if we want to change things we really have to raise our thoughts and conversations to a new level.
The key to changing things in my view is simple...kindness. It might not produce overnight results at a global level, but it we all start allowing kindness to motivate every action in our daily lives we will change our family, our community and eventually the world.
While kindness in itself is a simple concept, what is more challenging is stripping away the years of conditioning that cause us to see and react to the world through a critical and judgemental lens. This is about living more through our hearts and less through our heads. About remembering that we don't have to lower our standards in response to other people's bad behaviour - learning to ignore the ego's need to 'be right'.
The kindness we need right now is not about big flashy acts of generosity, but about simple everyday acts of love and compassion. And while it's lovely to show kindness to strangers if you have the chance, the most important acts of kindness for changing the world are those you show yourself and your immediate circle of family, friends and colleagues. Because how many of us are guilty of being kind and patient and generous with strangers and coming home and going off at our kids for not having done their homework, or our partner for being late home for dinner? Or being kind and thoughtful to everyone else and then telling ourselves at the end of the day how stupid and worthless we are for **insert your favourite thing to beat yourself up about**.
When we focus closer to home and create a foundation of kindness in the small actions of our everyday life, we build a habit, a subconscious way of being. Kindness stops being something we actively think about doing and becomes a way of life.
This doesn't mean we stop standing up for what we believe in, it doesn't mean we let bullies and tyrants terrorise the world, but it does mean we don't sink to their assumption making, judgemental, name calling ways. We show our strength and resolve and break down fear and animosity by treating everyone with love and compassion. We build the world we want to live in by living as if it is already here.
The ability to choose kindness in every situation is a magic power we all have. Work your magic friends, and tell us in the comments below how you are spreading kindness every day in your family and community.
PS If you're looking for ideas and inspiration for spreading love and kindness I strongly recommend you check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. They do wonderful work promoting, encouraging and highlighting acts of kindness in our communities, and providing resources to support teachers and parents in educating the next generation to be kind and compassionate citizens.