President John Kennedy said that each of us can make a difference and that all of us should try. The key words in that quote are “all of us.”
None of us can do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs every single bit of all the good you can do. A single act of kindness can change the world of the person receiving it and there isn’t a single person in the world who can’t be kind.
Despite what some people seem to think showing kindness is not a sign of weakness. It is in fact a sign of strength. But first understand the difference between being kind and simply being nice.
Being nice is when you are polite to people and treat people well. Some people call that being courteous. Being “nice” is sort of the minimum requirement for being accepted into society.
Being kind is when you care about people and show it. Sometimes you can be kind to someone even though you aren’t nice to them. What some people call “tough love” would be one example of that. You can be nice to someone but also be unkind. That’s actually pretty common. We are often nice to people we don’t even know but we don’t put in any effort to demonstrate we care about them.
It costs us nothing to be nice to someone but being kind almost certainly has some type of cost, or as I’d prefer to say, investment. It might be giving some of your time to assist someone else. Being kind might mean sacrificing a little of what you have so someone else can have a little bit of something too.
Being kind takes effort and intentionality. It can be tiring but the effort is always worth it. Whether the person you’re being kind to realizes it in the moment or not; you know you’ve done the right thing and that feeling has staying power.
But here’s the thing….all that difference making and being kind to others can take a real toll on you. It can wear you down. A little fact that many people miss is that kindness for others is only sustainable if you’re first kind to yourself. Yes, you must put yourself first once in a while.
If you’re a kind person be sure to invest some time in yourself as well. Focus on your needs. Focus on something for yourself that you never have time for. Make time!
I know it’s counterintuitive for truly kind people to put themselves first. This is especially true for moms. But honestly, the kindest thing you can do for others is to be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Make time for yourself so you’ll have more time for others.
You have the time to care for yourself and others too. You just have to change your priorities to sometimes put yourself first. Remember, the people you care for most will benefit from YOU taking care of YOU too.