We are all inspired by random acts of kindness, particularly this time of year.
But does our caring have to be random? What if we decide to be more intentional in our actions?
Caring has a pervasive, enduring influence on the well-being of those around us. Caring impacts who we are as people and the places we work and live. So, considering caring intentions for this holiday season, I propose, that along with your to-do list, we make a TO-BE list.
- Be Kind. In Charlie Mackesy’s book, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, the mole and the boy have a conversation: “I’m so small,” said the mole. “Yes,” replied the boy, “but you can make a huge difference.” Then the mole asked what the boy wanted to be when he grew up. “Kind,” said the boy. Now that’s a worthy goal for any of us.
- Be Generous. I know of a family who decided, this year, that instead of buying presents for each other they adopted a Ukrainian refugee family to ensure they all have warm clothes and love this holiday season.
- Be Curious. A caring way to de-rail an activated stress response is to get curious. While being angry may be an understandable response, it only worsens it. Curiosity transforms anger into understanding, opens the door to empathy and compassion, helps solve the problem more effectively, and lowers your blood pressure.
- Be Present. When on vacation it seems the places I visit are more beautiful than where I live. But, is the place really more beautiful or am I noticing something I take for granted in my day-to-day life? When my wife was hanging her Christmas bells this week, I stopped to be present to her joy, which in turn brought joy to me. What makes a task valuable and life meaningful is the quality of the attention we give to it in the present moment.
- Be Patient. Practicing patience is having the maturity and composure to be kind – even when we don’t feel like it. When stressed, overwhelmed, and surrounded by impatience, it is even more important to find compassion for people around us.
- Be Thoughtful. Being thoughtful of others starts with being thoughtful within ourselves. Over the coming holiday season, take time to reflect on what truly matters. Step away from the clamor of the demands of others and the noise of social media and think about what’s in your heart. Take time to meditate, to be grateful, and enjoy a sunset. Hug the people you love. Make time to listen with empathy to someone who thinks differently about the world than you do. Take your dog for a longer walk. Embrace each moment, for you’ll never know if the next one will come along.