Week 5 of the Kindness Challenge Niki asked us to choose kindness while living our lives. Easy enough! But, instead I missed a kindness opportunity. Luckily, found a quote that shined a profound light on why to choose kindness.
My missed opportunity took place on the treadmill next to me at the gym. A kind and lovely woman asked if the gym was always this crowded. Wrapped in this simple question was an apologetic tone, as she quietly explained it was her first day using the gym’s equipment. Politely I answered her questions, never acknowledging that I wasn’t bothered by her inquiry.
Later, I realized I could’ve elevated this exchange by choosing kindness thru being her cheerleader. Simply expressing positive reinforcement about her heathy choice to exercise. And maybe asking what brought about this new lifestyle. This gesture to welcome her to gym and welcome her to the “club” of people who decided to exercise would have been choosing kindness. But I didn’t…I didn’t choose kindness. I chose to stare at the television, distracting myself while jogging on the treadmill.
This negative behavior of mine started me wondering what I thought choosing kindness meant. My intuition started this internal probe thru a sensation of unfulfillment. Lacking clarity I started to sense it wasn’t just about being nice, sort of an absent minded disconnected action like, picking up something that someone dropped or holding open a door for someone while talking on my cell phone. I’m not minimizing these helpful actions but I intuited there was something deeper at work when choosing kindness. But what…
Magically, while scrolling thru Twitter, I read the message that my intuition was preparing me for.
“Release the joy that is inside another and you will release the joy that is inside of you.”
This quote named the unclear sensation and brought the deeper awareness of choosing kindness to my consciousness. Choosing kindness created a connection thru joy.
With this knowledge, I imagined the potential outcome if I had simply said, “Welcome, to the gym.”, or “Good for you for caring for yourself.” or “What led you to this choice?”. I can see her shy smile forming. She becomes a smidge vulnerable to release some joy at a stranger’s heartfelt words to positively acknowledge her effort. This exchange, that I could have initiated, would’ve created an opening thru kindness to feel some joy. According to the quote, we would both be richer for the moment. But none of that happened….