Choose THIS as your daily word for 2019 (you won't be sorry)

Choose kindness as your daily word for 2019. To be kind reflects your strength, courage and self-awareness. Kindness is a choice about how to live fully and be human together. Let’s explore how your chosen word of kindness will be life-affirming with multiplying effects on the world!

It is easy to identify a multitude of unkind acts and people. They are incubators of division and poisonous behaviors. To be side-tracked by them is to cede power to unkindness when you have the capacity to illuminate life with kindness!  In the face of human cruelty and unkindness, I remain convinced about the innate goodness and capacity for kindness in every one of us.

Kindness is generally understood to mean being considerate, generous and friendly to all. Kindness is associated with acts of hospitality, concern, care, kind-heartedness, thoughtfulness, compassion, altruism, understanding, generosity, magnanimity, consideration and sympathy. Kind people are usually warmhearted, friendly and kindly.

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It is no wonder that almost every religious tradition or spiritual practice places a high value on kindness.

Scientific studies confirm that being kind is good for your physical health. Business publications tout studies highlighting how kindness in the workplace increases productivity, staff satisfaction and employee retention.

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Choosing kindness as the word to ground and navigate every moment of our lives in 2109 is a declaration about how to steer the ship of life.

Kindness to self, kindness to others and a kindness mindset are three inter-related spheres of to guide you. Remember this is a practice you are choosing – it is not about perfection!

Kindness to self. Many of us have lived significant parts of our lives unable to be kind to self. This is often the result of life blows or experiences of abuse and the ensuing shame that we live with or conflicting messages from family, bullies, society or religion about our value as an individual. Self-judgement and a low sense of self-worth often fuel these truths. To ease the pain, we may try to be nice to ourselves but that is not kindness.

Kindness to yourself begins with awareness of the way you talk about yourself and the words you use. Do they magnify your goodness, beauty, heart, spirit and being? Do you diminish yourself or do you affirm the unique qualities and gifts you have? Do your daily routine and practices acknowledge the ways your spirit and being should be nourished and fed?

You are of infinite and inestimable value and choosing kindness for your own life is a pathway to healing, reconciliation with life, forgiveness, joy and happiness. Be kind with your language, images and time. Kindness to others will always be experienced in direct proportion to the generous way in which you are kind to, with and about yourself.

Kindness to others. There are always challenges and roadblocks tripping us up here! Perhaps it is because a person is toxic, causes chaos, has endless drama, anger or capacity for destruction. Perhaps you have refused to let go of a grudge, hurt or stereotype. Perhaps you push one another’s buttons. Despite themselves, each person is of infinite and inestimable value – just as you are.

If kindness means anything it has no expiration date and no caveats. You may not fully understand a neighbor, colleague or even the person you read about halfway across town or the world; your lack of understanding may even make you cautious, nervous or fearful.

Your kindness to others kicks in with your ability to listen, be respectful, compassionate, and magnanimous. It might logically extend to thoughtfulness and hospitality. Each will be entry points to new and unexpected consideration. How you act, speak, think and talk about others will be changed.

For some – possibly those in your family or origin or family of choice – your kindness will seem to go unnoticed, unappreciated or rebuffed. To be kind is never to be confused with being a doormat for others. Your job is not to change them. You are kindly because it is how you choose to be human. Be aware of those who are appreciative and thankful for the kindness you live.

Kindness mindset. Kindness is one of the great multipliers – it affects you, the person impacted by your kindness and the people who observe and note it. Kindness begets kindness. The return on investment or choice is significant.

To be kind is a choice of strength and courage; a choice about how you want to be human and about how to be human together. It is a choice that makes us curious about one another. That curiosity builds bridges of connection, creates hearts of empathy, expands compassion and invites generosity.

The kindness mindset observes and acknowledges life as it is. It notes all the unkindness and the hostile acts that flow from it. You might grieve for such a disconnected world. But kindness always triumphs. You help to make that so because kindness changes you, me and every single person impacted by your choice. You become a disciple and evangelist of kindness.

So, put the word kindness in visible spots where you will be reminded of your word choice for 2019. Use it as a password, make it your screensaver, keep a kindness journal, post daily photos or messages about kindness, put kindness signs or images in your car, office, gym bag or lunch sack. Be creative in reminding yourself of your choice.

Be kind to yourself in choosing to practice kindness. You and I are not perfect but if our intention is about kindness it will always be radiant – and we will all be richer for it!