Kindness: Practiced Is The New More

In response to today’s Daily Prompt:

Click over to your favorite blog, and pick out the 4th and 14th words (that aren’t “the” or “an”). Drop them into this phrase:

“_____ is the new _____.”   There’s your post title. Now write!

The favourite blog I went looking for in my reader was the Kindness Blog.  Their most recent post is “Are You In? Kindness is Free …” by Leigh McManus.  The first sentence that generated the words “practiced” and “more” for my prompt title was this one:

If we all practiced one act of kindness per day, imagine how much more magnificent the world could be.

Wow – simple sentence, powerful words, and a profound impact if we all committed to it.

It struck me though that it never occurred to me before that kindness does in fact needs to be practiced.  I guess I always just figured it was part of our genetic wiring, that we were all born to be kind, and that kindness came naturally to everyone.  But now that I think about it, I realize that isn’t necessarily true.  Most if not all of the attributes, skills, or talents that any person may possess, had to be learned somehow.

I’m good with numbers.  And while yes, we could get into a nature vs nurture debate on the topic, I’d still have to say my mathematical aptitude was primarily a learned one.  A predisposition is just that: a precursor that disposes a person to being able to do something well.  Without the learning to go with it however, that skill will not materialize.  So maybe my genes set me up for being good with numbers, but it was truly through the teaching of others and my practicing of what they taught me that made it materialize into a skill.

The same applies to kindness in my books.  I return to my original thoughts that yes, we are all wired to be kind.  I just can’t believe that any of us were born with the intention of being anything else.  But we need others to teach us how to be kind.  We need leaders and role models who will be our professors of kindness.  They are out there, they are everywhere.  But we will only know they are there if we take the time to look for them.  And we will only receive the gifts of their teachings if we actually pay attention to the kindness lessons they share with us.  And none of this will matter, the predisposition to being kind and the fact that there are people with PhD’s in kindness all around us, if we don’t make the conscious decision to do our homework and practice the lessons of kindness that life sends our way.

One of the definitions for the verb practice at Dictionary.com is:

Repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency:     Practice makes perfect.

So now it’s a matter of where I will focus my attention, my energy, and my efforts.  It’s a case of whether I will choose to practice being kind, or choose to practice being unkind.  I know one thing for sure – whichever I choose to practice, I will get better at it.  Practice does make perfect as the above definition says.

The “Are You In?  Kindness Is Free …” article that prompted this post goes on to list 75 things that we can do that are both kind and free.  It challenges readers to commit to one act of kindness for the next 7 days.  I’m always up for a good challenge, so I’m in.  Care to join me?

Who knows, your acts of kindness in the upcoming week might just make my world a little brighter.  Better than that though, I’m pretty sure you being kind to others, any others, will make your world a lot brighter.  And more brightness in the world is something we can all benefit from.  So kindness – let’s practice it.  It is the new more.
 

Featured image:  as seen on the Kindness Blog, original source unknown
 

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