Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Kindness Project



Why is it that we can be least kind to the people we love most?

I can usually manage to be friendly to strangers, but sometimes my nearest and dearest have to suffer from the fall-out of my stress and frustration.

I spend more time with them, I deal with more stuff with them-- I mean, I get why it happens-- but I'd still like to change this pattern.

On some days I do well-- I can be patient and kind, but other days I fuss at my husband about something or other, and lose patience with my sons for failing to do that thing I've asked them to do twenty times already.

So tell me, suppliers of sympathy, brokers of benevolence, wholesalers of humanity-- do you have any strategies for being kind to the people who share your lives most closely?

Can you share them with me?

Also-- thanks to everyone who has contacted me about helping the people in Kenya that I met--- things move slowly over there, and I am working on getting information to share with you. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, my posts on Kenya are here, and here.

Visit Carolina Valdez-Miller's site to find all the deets on The Kindness Project.
Sign on to post or read others' posts here:



30 comments:

  1. Having a temper shorter than than a half sized Dachshund, I am not the best authority on being... nice.

    I do work in food service, a big faux-friendly franchise food service no less, so I know a thing or two about slapping on a cheesy grin and pretending not to hate strangers for their peccadilloes. I also know that whether or not you know someone doesn't change what their foibles are, but how you see them. When I like someone, their moles turn into beauty marks.

    If I really like someone, the minute I am frustrated, all I want to do is tear that ugly mole off their stupid face.

    Sometimes people deserve a lash-out, and even before we actually are ready to apologize, the people who love us will love us. Still, when I'm at work, with strangers, there is something expected of my interaction with them. This should be doubly so for people we know, right? There should be something more expected. Yeah, we get to let our peccadilloes show, but we also should let others' slide as much as we can.

    Kindness, sometimes, is a duty-bound obligation, which is easier for me to stomach than being kind for kindness' sake.

    I'm kind of a bitch.

    Also, waiting patiently, ma'am! What they're dealing with, what you're dealing with, what I'm dealing with--- things will go at their pace, but I'm still very interested.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love this insight Glenna-- and I like comment essays, no matter the reason. :0)

      Delete
  2. Smack me the next time I write a comment essay because I'm up too early, will you?

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Kindness Project is so awesome--I hope to join in next month.

    I try to "leave it at the door"--make a conscious effort when I come home from work to separate whatever frustrations I've been feeling. This sometimes involves embarrassingly earnest self-talk on the stoop. Granted, a majority of the time I probably fail at this. Or I'm so wrapped up in my little stormcloud that I forget about my intention.

    So. . . . I will be reading other comments for actual advice. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I LOVE this idea Rebecca-- and I can easily envision myself on my back stoop muttering under my breath with "embarrassingly earnest self-talk". I can't wait to try this-- thank you!

      Delete
  4. It's really tough sometimes. I think we know they'll always love us so we vent and unleash in ways we'd never unleash with others knowing they'd boot us out the door and wash their hands of us. But it doesn't make it any more right. Honestly, I just remind myself of the lasting impact my words can have, of the way I'm shaping them with my words and actions. Once I heard someone say (Dr. Phil?) that your children are blank canvases and we write on their canvases with our words and actions, shaping them into who they are becoming. It's not that far removed with our spouses and extended family either. We have greater power to shape their identities more than anyone else, to crush their confidence or build it up, because they do love us. Above all, they trust us. So when I'm getting frustrated and angry or irritated, I try to remind myself of this, knowing I don't want to steal their security from them.

    Really great post, K. In all our thoughts and considerations of kindness, sometimes we forget to be kind to those we love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like this imagery Carol, of the canvas. I will definitely use it!

      Delete
  5. oh, man. This is the hardest habit of all to break. I know I'm guilty of it. Poor hubs takes the brunt of all my writerly frustrations at times. :o(

    But perhaps KNOWING is the first step, yes? Then when it happens, we can either catch ourselves or apologize and try to do better. Great reminder, KO! <3

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think it's hardest of all with the people you love because you CARE so much. With strangers, or acquaintances, you don't care whether they listen, so it's easy to smile and nod.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I so hear you on this. I am definitely a work-in-progress but I have a mantra I say to myself now to shut me up: WAIT (Why Am I Talking). It has really helped me. Like my Mum always used to say: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all". I think another reason why I am horrible to my family is that they love me so I can get away with it. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm the same way, Kat. My husband (bless his heart!) suffers the bulk of my stress-induced backlash, which is sad because I adore him. Lately, I've tried hard to watch myself and I've made a point to apologize as soon as I realize I've been unkind for no reason. I'm not perfect about it all the time, but I think everyone in my house is happier when we're careful to treat one another with the love we feel.

    Great topic for today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Treat each other with the love we feel. I LOVE that--- thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  9. Yes, we all do this as we don't fear rejection from those close to us. It's our comfort level that lets our demons out. I try to stop, breathe, and sometimes even walk away for a moment when the volcano is building. It doesn't always work, but at least I try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting aspect of it, Michele-- the comfort level. So true, and important to remember.

      Delete
  10. I think we're all guilty of putting more effort into relationships with people we don't know because we know those who already love us are in it for the long haul. Not a very good excuse. Thoughtful post!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh man, it's so true. I feel awful when I snap at my kids, or get short-tempered with my hubby. I should be trying to be more kind to them than anyone else, yet they usually get the short end of the stick. Thank you for the reminder to make sure I'm thinking of them first!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, especially because they're theones who are there for us when we need them.

      Delete
  12. Oh, man. I wish I knew! I think it's natural to do these things when you love someone. It's totally cliche but you hurt the ones you love. They can take it. You know they're going to be there when you're done ranting. I guess, we just take it one thing at a time and try to see the situation through their shoes before we react ;o)

    Great post!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Erica-- so, so true. I think we have to be strong enough to just change those patterns of behavior we don't like.

      Delete
  13. Ohmygosh - you sound like ME. Sometimes I really feel bad for my children. And my husband. It's tough not to take out that frustration on someone, especially when life is busy and harsh. I try (and often fail) to take it out on my elliptical. Or my vacuum cleaner. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Taking it out on the elliptical-- that's a great idea!! My vacuum just makes me more frustrated, somehow.

      Delete
  14. That's a great question. Sometimes it can be tough since those closest to us are the ones that help us through our stress and see us at our worst. I just try to remember how precious they are to me and how quickly they can be taken away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point Heather-- it can be hard to remember that in the moment-- but i'm hoping if I keep doing it, it will become easier. :0)

      Delete
  15. Looking at it from the other side of the coin--a sibling of mine sometimes makes cruel comments that hurt (his/her) family members, things I'm sure this person would never say to friends (probably because they wouldn't put up with it the way family does). I'm sure this person has no idea how much (his/her) cavalier comments have wounded parents and siblings alike, and I'm not going to point it out because I'm not sure it would fix anything and might actually make the situation worse, but it's made me think--what am I myself doing to hurt the people I love? What could I do to ameliorate that, so that they don't have to feel the way I feel when I see my sibling mocking or rejecting the things I hold most dear?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow Soozcat- it's good to hear the other side and to KNOW our words have an impact, so we should be watching them closely!!

      Delete
  16. yes, it's true. We are often kinder to those around us whom we do not really know than to the ones we really love and admire. Why is that? Maybe because we are more comfortable around them and know they are more forgiving? Still, it's not a good reason:(
    Thanks for hopping over to my blog! I'm so glad to meet you!

    ReplyDelete

YAY for comments! Thanks for adding to the conversation.