There’s an “i” in Kindness and it’s You!


Yesterday, I was talking with someone I respect immensely and she was expressing how 2016 is going to be a great year. Our conversation got me thinking about how the New Year allows us to set a mark in time which gives our minds permission to accept positive change. New beginnings can open hearts to life’s infinite possibilities. I believe having self-kindness and kindness towards others at the core of a person’s belief system can be one of the most important and effective ways to inspire change in the world around them.

Why do I believe kindness matters? Let me share with you about my own personal journey of what I call self-kindness. The guiding idea behind what I believe is based on a paradigm I studied for my Master’s Degree. The semester long course was titled “Reality Therapy and/or Control Theory”. The underlying premise is grounded in the principle that everyone CHOOSES to feel the way they do about everything in their life. You choose to be happy. You choose to be sad. You to choose to be in love. Let me explain how choosing self-kindness has transformed my life. In the past year I have lost 75 pounds. There was no magic diet, surgery or pill that shed my weight. I chose to be kind to myself; therefore I had the ability to lose the weight. No matter your struggles or life’s challenges you too can choose self-kindness.

I believe the essence of how most of us view kindness is captured by the singer/songwriter Jewel in a line from her song “Hands”. Jewel wrote, “In the end only kindness matters”. The video depicts random people helping each other during a devastating fire. Another example would be the Liberty Mutual commercial that shows people paying random acts of kindness forward. One good deed passing from one person to the next.

As you can see I have taken two view points on kindness. Now let me merge them. I believe if you choose self-kindness first then you are more likely to pay that kindness forward 10 fold.

In this approaching New Year the best bit of wisdom I can offer is to choose self-kindness as a guiding principal in your life. Let it be your North Star and when you find it in others acknowledge it! Show gratitude and appreciation for those around you that choose all the purest forms of kindness.  The person I truly respect the most has self-kindness and kindness towards others as her guiding life’s principle. Witnessing this sort heart-warming kindness and its effects on all those around her is truly refreshing. It’s amazing how one person’s actions of kindness can effect so many. I say be that spark of kindness towards yourself and others in this coming New Year and allow it to catch fire to all those around you. Finally, I believe all types of kindness carries other word associations on its coat tails: understanding, compassion, empathy, caring and love. I know 2016 is going to be an amazing year for me and the residents at Winnwood. What does kindness mean to you?

Thank You and God Bless!

John P. Rauls