Try a Little K + C
“Kindness and compassion toward all living things is the mark of a civilized society.”
What a beautiful thought. If we were all kind and compassionate (K + C), then many of our current challenges would cease. Sounds like an easy formula… K + C = PEACE. But if it’s that simple, then why aren’t we doing it?
When reading about the global atrocities, it’s clear how horrendous others’ actions are toward their fellow humans – the exact opposite of K + C. These vulgar cruelties occurring day to day are mind blowing. Who would actually do these horrible things? Why can’t “those people” recognize the sanctity of life and allow others to live in peace?
While we can use our voice, money, and energy toward stopping the brutalities that exist outside of our backyard, we don’t have the power to instantaneously solve these problems. In order for a major shift to occur, the individuals committing these acts must change their behavior.
However there is something we can do. Although we cannot fix another human being we can look inward to identify those areas where we could be more K + C. After all, it’s easy to criticize others – especially those who are committing dreadful crimes against humanity. But it is only when we have the courage to examine how much K & C we practice in our lives and are willing to initiate change within ourselves that we can begin to transform the world around us. That’s the thing about K + C - it’s contagious, and it can spread like wild fires.
I strive to be a K + C person. If someone asked, I could definitely come up with a list of ways that I am K + C. But there is so much room for me to grow in this area. Maybe the question isn’t how are we K + C. Perhaps the real issue is when aren’t we K + C, and how can we turn that around?
What if instead of focusing on what we do right, we looked for opportunities to be better in all of our actions. Sure, we’re pretty decent people. We pay our taxes, we’re nice to our family, and we are good friends in need. But can’t there be more? Aren’t there areas in our lives which could be tweaked, or maybe even overhauled, so that we don’t just do K + C deeds, but that become K + C in all that we do?
For this to occur, we must pause and ask where we lack K + C. This is not to be critical, but rather to allow ourselves to see areas of our lives where we could be better. Below are some of the areas that I’ve struggled with – and some that I continue to find challenging:
1. Judgments – whether it is just a snarky comment or a deep-rooted disapproval of others or ourselves, we must stop it now. This does no good for anyone. And who gave us the right to decide how another should be, act, or think. Let’s agree to take care of ourselves and leave others to do the same.
2. Gossip – oh, here’s a juicy one! Everyone LOVES a good story, right? After all, we didn’t create it, we’re just sharing what we heard. But consider how we would feel if we were the topic of this discussion. There is no room for gossip and K & C in the same car. So tell gossip to get out of the backseat and hit the road.
3. Doubt – in self and others. Actually, this is attached to judgment. Sometimes we doubt to protect others or even ourselves. After all, monitoring expectations is one way to shield the heart. Instead of doubt, let’s try being open to possibilities and see how that feels.
4. Taking things personally. Here’s the real truth – another’s actions probably has very little to do with us. Yet we attach meaning to what another says or does, making it personal. Let it go and see how free you feel.
5. Making assumptions. I love to play detective – you know, try to figure things out like why people do things or the reasons behind their emotions. But we cannot understand another’s behavior until we’ve walked in their shoes. So let’s just allow others to do what they do. After all, if it’s not affecting us, why do we care? And remember the old saying – when you ASSUME you make an “ass” out of “U” and “ME.” Think about it.
6. Needing to be right. Who doesn’t want to say, “I told you so”? Whether we say this to emphasize a point or just to make ourselves feel good, is it truly necessary? Instead of thinking that there’s always a winner and a loser, adjust that to a win/win philosophy. After all, when we say, “I told you so,” to someone who we care about, are we truly projecting concern for his or her well-being, or are we trying to boost ourselves?
You may have some other areas where K + C are not exactly shining in your life. After all, we are spiritual beings having a human experience, so we’re not supposed to be perfect. But we can be better, and we can do better. Yet for this to occur, we must take the time and honestly look inward, identify the areas where we can grow, and then do our best. Will we be perfect? Absolutely not. Will we slip into old behaviors? Most definitely. But it is a start, a beginning. If we can become more K + C, then the world has a shot at it, too.
We know better, so we can do better. Let’s do our part to make a difference.