Friday, February 20, 2009

Patience is a Virtue, Kindness is Too

"Be kinder than necessary, because everyone you meet is fighting some sort of battle."

This well-known mantra is often quoted, but not as often followed. It's one of those things that's easier said than done. Sometimes we can't help but react instinctively to someone's actions. But, what if everyone actually made the effort to be kinder than necessary to those they met? It's true that everyone you meet is fighting some sort of battle. It may be something seemingly small like fighting a cold, stressing over work, or having an argument with a friend, or it could be something bigger like worrying about an ailing relative, or dealing with divorce. Even if it seems like nothing's wrong, chances are that they're just putting on a happy face. So, the next time a co-worker doesn't do what you asked right away, take a second and think before you say something. And, the next time your mother nudges you about the same thing she's been nudging you about for weeks, give her the benefit of the doubt. Even she might be fighting some sort of battle that you don't know about.

And another thing, don't underestimate the power of a genuine compliment. If you think someone's new haircut looks nice, or you like their outfit, tell them! If one of your co-workers helps you out, give them credit and thank them. When one of your friends says they'll be there for you when you need them, and actually follows through, let them know how much you appreciate them.

Make someone smile. Corny though it may sound, when you make someone smile, you'll smile too. And they just might return the favor when you really need it. The key to compliment giving is be genuine. If you don't mean it, don't say it. But at the same time, don't hold back. People will appreciate your words even though they may not show it.

Everyone knows The Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do to you." So, put yourself in someone else's shoes. Take a moment to consider what might be going on behind their cheery facade. Be kind to others and kindness will make its way back to you.

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