Being kind to others begins with yourself. Let me briefly touch various facets of our lives and share my view on how does kindness play out.
Let’s begin with parents. And for a moment imagine your parents don’t have a driving license but they drive you to wherever you want to go. In fact, consider this that they have learned driving by observing their parents drive, who were anyways not perfect at that. Now isn’t that scary and funny at the same time. This is a perfect analogy for parenting. Our parents are not perfect. They have not studied parenting but they try the best they can. And that’s why I say life is seriously funny and therefore we need to be kind to self and others.
We need to be kind to our parents for everything they do for us against all odds. And we need to be kind to self too and not be too harsh on ourselves for times we lose it on our parents. And in case you are a parent be proud of driving your kid to their destination without having properly learned driving. You get the drift.
Our teachers are people of their own experiences and education. They try their best to answer our inane and sometimes insane questions. They have students of all kinds in one class to manage in a limited time. I am sure you have called all your teachers with a funny nickname that mostly elicits a chuckle or laughter. And guess what, teachers generally know their funny nickname but behave as if they don’t. To top it all the irony is that marks we obtain is seen as a reflection of their teaching abilities.
The truth is it’s not an easy job to teach a thing or two. Be kind to your teachers they are relentlessly trying to make us a better learner. And if you score low then be kind to yourself. Life is not an exam it is an experience, enjoy every ups and downs like a roller coaster in an amusement park.
Talking about our partners or spouses. We expect the moon from them. We want them to be our best friend, philosopher, guide and a passionate lover, all rolled into one. By the way they expect the same from us but probably don’t say it. If they are lacking in any expectations of ours make us irritable and sometimes rude to them. The truth is relationships and emotions are complex. We are constantly evolving with passing time and with our own lived-experiences and so are our partners. They too want to be loved and understood. Love them. Be emotionally available unconditionally.
It’s in the giving that you will get what you are seeking. And when you fail in doing so remember it is human to at times expect. Make tea-time every week to talk about each other’s expectations, in doing so you will find more than you expected.
Our children are not our progress report. They certainly are not our unfinished business. They have come to us to teach us the power of innocence. Don’t mute their endless ‘Whys’. They are not looking for answers; rather they are looking for believers. Believers who will believe in them and their dreams. If not parents then who can be the most stubborn believers for them? Don’t be in a hurry to teach them how to be on their own or how to fall in line or to conform to social norms.
Instead, enjoy being a kid with them, discover the lost innocence and build their confidence to be who they want to be. And be kind to yourself and them when you don’t get them, because not everything has to make sense.
Play is most underrated ritual in our life. And kids come to us to reinforce play of life.
And last but not the least here is the most critical one – work-life balance. Aren’t we always trying to strike a balance but always failing and falling off balance. There is a flaw in seeking work-life balance, it assumes there is no life at work and there is no work in life. Look for ‘work-life harmony’ instead. And yes we spend most of our waking hours working or learning to work.
A bad day at work doesn’t make you bad or your job not worth doing. At work or in life it is one day at a time. Work is much a like a sport- you win some or lose a few.
Most importantly, be kind to your bosses. They are struggling too. They find it hard to be vulnerable. In fact, they might not have anyone to go and rant to like you do to your boss. So be extra kind to them when you can sense that.
Charlie Chaplin sums up best- “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but comedy in long-shot”.
Take a long shot of life and live it up. And when in doubt, remember to be kind to yourself!
- The author is a storyteller, an experienced professional in marketing and advertising and the CEO of BBDO, India!