I recently had an experience where I was a part of a group where we were sharing stories. There were six couples involved and my husband and I were one. Many of our stories were painful and so it brought up a lot of tears. This is something that would normally make me uncomfortable--people crying--but in the open space and the loving environment, I found myself crying and feeling a kinship with everyone in the room.
Later that night, I was reading The World According To Mister Rogers (which, by the way, is a fabulous book) and I came across a bit that talks about crying. Mr. Rogers talks about how so many people feel uncomfortable and so they say, "Don't cry." I stopped dead in my tracks--how many times have I said that? Maybe a thousand? Maybe a hundred thousand?!
Instead, he said, we should lend an ear to those who are upset. Give their tears validation and place to flow. Instead, he said, we should say, "Go ahead and cry. I am here to be with you." Such a simple sentence, but wrought with so much meaning. Permission to cry and to be in the presence of someone who will listen and hear what is upsetting to you is a great gift.
I thought to myself about how many times I might have shut down conversations that could have lead to real understanding between myself and those people I love just by simply saying, "Aw, don't cry." I resolved to myself that very moment never to say that again. Since then, when someone cries, I ask them more about their tears, and let them know that I am there to be with them. I let them know that it is okay to cry and that I am here to be with them--there is nothing more important than being in the moment with someone who needs you. You never know when you might be the one in need, after all.
This seemingly small realization has opened a huge place in my heart and it is making me a more attentive and sensitive human being. It makes me more kind.
Our lives are so busy these days. Everything happens so quickly and without a thought in many cases... and sometimes we forget to slow down even for a moment of kindness. But kindness is the most important nonmaterial item we can give to others because it sprouts from our love. So this holiday season, as well as throughout the year, I ask all my readers to look inside themselves and see what they can give in the way of kindness to others.
Sometimes it will be as simple as lending an ear or a shoulder to cry on when someone is upset. Other times, it can be holding a door to a mother who is struggling with bags and children at the grocery store. Whatever it is to you, please take moments each week to be kind. "Kind people are my kind of people!"
“Karen Salmansohn is on a mission to stop the trend of bullying and make kindness trendy. You can find out more about her mission on Karen’s Happy Kid’s page on her site www.notsalmon.com Plus, you can join Karen’s Kindness mission by becoming a Kindness Rockstar Ambassador – just click here: http://bit.ly/RSEwjZ “