08 January 2012

Word of the Year: kindness

The word for 2012 is

Why kindness?
I wanted a concept that was multi-dimensional and one that was challenging for me in some way.
What's more versatile than simple, sweet, and straightforward kindness?

  • To self
  • To loved ones
  • To colleagues
  • To acquaintances
  • To strangers

Each one of those groups presents its own particular challenge. Let's start with the three in the middle!
Don't you find that kindness to those close by is easier when you know it will be appreciated, or when you're responding with kindness to something nice/helpful/generous that someone else initiated? Part of my challenge will be extending kindness to others without attaching any strings, even invisible ones in my own head.  That sort of detached kindness would be a much more honest expression of my own innate goodwill than the acts of kindness I sometimes do now, hoping for or expecting appreciation and reciprocation, and being resentful when they don't appear.
Kindness to strangers is something I too often let fall by the wayside, simply because I don't have to see or think about the consequences my brief interaction in the checkout line or my easing impatiently past a slow-mover on the sidewalk have.  This year I'd like to challenge myself to be more aware and more mindful of others.
Finally, kindness to self is a creature of a totally different type.  Except I think it's not actually so different from kindness to others.  My personal challenge is to take the kindness I'm so willing to show everyone else and turn it back around to be more patient, more forgiving, and more generous with myself.

Regular Feature
Instead of having a '10 Things' list every Saturday, I'll be sharing a kindness tip once a week - some way to be kind to yourself or others that I've tried and that you can try, too!  A number of these acts of kindness will also involve crafting, because we knitters ought to use our talents and skillz for good, no?  Get ready for the first post coming up on Saturday (fancy new post heading banner TM included).

What does kindness mean to you?  How do you carve out space for kindness in your everyday life?  Or do you have your own inspiring word for 2012?  I'd love for you to share your thoughts in the comments!


Fran said...

An though-provoking and inspiring post, Allison. I think many of us struggle with the disappointment of not seeing some evidence of appreciation - sometimes long after we have helped a friend. I guess that means we are still tied to that previous moment of our own kindness and our own expectation for some sort of reciprocation. And this leads me to ask: if we can truly practice being mindful, so that we are genuinely in the moment, then our acts of kindess will have no strings, since we will ourselves will have forgotten them and moved on, without any attachments to the past moments or to future moments. Something to meditate on and practice. Thank you!

Allison said...

Fran, you always give me more to think about when you comment! I love it :)

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