Dec 2, 2019 | Leadership, Community and Partnerships
I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness lately and what it truly means to have a positive impact on others. I think this subject is especially still top of mind due to HDGH’s recent launch of the iPledge campaign where I committed to 60 intentional acts of kindness in recognition of my 60 years on the planet. But to me, it’s more important than that.
It’s also very much about the season we’re in - a season of giving. Like most probably, it’s because of Christmas and Thanksgiving, two holidays where my own internal compass more naturally orients to others. So this month’s blog will highlight just that - kindness, giving and this internal compass can instead guide us all year long and not just only during special holidays.
Why be kind? What does it matter? Does anyone even notice? Does anyone even care? The answers are simple and complicated all at the same time. Yes, kindness is noticed and yes, it matters to a whole lot of people. But often it is a bit more complicated.
Kindness is sometimes mistaken for weakness.
Consider this quote by the Dalai Lama, “Don't ever mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance or my kindness for weakness. Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.” Think about how you define strength – does kindness, compassion and tolerance come to mind? If not, why not? How do you characterize strength? Do you think of a military-type figure or the type of strength demonstrated by the Dalai Lama or Mother Theresa? What is your mental model of a strong person and do you believe kindness is a factor in that strength?
I personally believe that my own internal strength – that I have called on in many difficult years of my life – comes from a deeply rooted desire to make a difference for others. It’s why nursing was such a good fit for me as a career choice and why I believe I’m “home” here at HDGH.
One aspect of kindness for me is the personal orientation of giving of yourself to others; either in time, energy, acts of generosity and goodwill or dollars. I do all of these regularly, year round and with tremendous personal satisfaction. I wasn’t always in this place though – for a long time my “giving energy” was oriented to special events like birthdays and anniversaries and holidays like Thanksgiving within the family and Christmas for others in the community. Over the years, and as my children and my knowledge of the needs in our community grew, I became more oriented to a philosophy of giving year round. How you give of yourself will be personal and it should be meaningful. Perhaps you volunteer in the community, perhaps you foster children or animals, perhaps you donate to our Foundation, perhaps you are a regular contributor to your church, mosque or synagogue. What matters isn’t WHAT you do instead that you commit to GIVE of yourself to help others.
For this coming season and as you enter 2020, I encourage you to please consider being intentionally kind to someone else. When you do this please share it with me and others through social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or can even just simply use the hashtag #iPledgeChallenge) or by sending me an email. You can also drop by and tell me all about it when I’m ringing the bells for the Salvation Army kettle campaign on December 6th at 2 pm at Devonshire Mall (by Shoppers) …. I’ll be watching for you. I look forward to hearing all about your own experiences with the joy that comes from doing something for someone else.
I wish you all a happy and giving holiday season and hope that you find all the love and joy you deserve.
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