Kindness is an underrated strength. In our competitive world, it's easy to assume that it shows some sort of weakness. But acknowledging other people, and our relationship with them, can lead us to do things that make us happier than taking the selfish route.
One of the simplest things we can do is something for charity. Big charity events, like marathons, are incredibly popular. They let us do something that meets our personal goals, and at the same time we know that we are helping someone else.
Kindness at home
Sometimes it's much harder to be kind nearer to home. Maybe your mother drives you mad, or your partner seems to you to be moaning about something trivial.
Quite often, the best gift you can give under these circumstances is simply listening to them, and this is often the hardest thing to do of all.
You can make it easier on yourself by learning to see things from their point of view. Here's an exercise that can help you to 'walk a mile in their moccasins.'
Talk to yourself
When you're on your own, try this. Put two chairs next to each other. One is your chair and the other is for your 'partner' even though he isn't there.
Sit on your chair, and explain what is driving you mad.
Then, step over to the other chair, sit in it and imagine you are your partner. Now explain how you are feeling.
Go back to your own chair and answer his points.
Continue this back and forth conversation. You'll find that you begin to see the issue from his point of view.
That doesn't mean that you will change your mind and agree with him, but you will find you feel less annoyed with him, and that will help you to listen more kindly next time you discuss the problem.
I write this Communication Blog
Frances Evesham: on the run around Europe for years, with only a husband, three children and a succession of opinionated cats to keep me out of trouble. Somerset stopped me in my tracks. Now I walk in the country and breathe sea air. I will get around to cleaning the house soon.
I've been a speech therapist, a professional communication fiend and a road sweeper. I sometimes work in the criminal courts to uphold fair questioning of people with special needs.
I smell the roses, lavender and rosemary as I cook with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other. Writing historical romances and books on communication leaves enough time to enjoy bad jokes and puns and wish I’d kept on with the piano lessons.