10 Surprising Lessons from 6 Months of Kindness

1. You can only give to people who are open to recieving. (You cannot save people. You cannot change people. Some people will say no and some people will run away. Seriously. You can only give to those that are open and eager to accept what you have to offer.)

2. Kindness to self is the hardest kindness of all. (Life will always contain too many shoulda woulda couldas. Cut out the negative tapes in your head. Speak to yourself as you would your best friend.)

3. Some people just “get it”, love it, support it – no matter what. (These are the wonderful, incredible, beautiful cheerleaders that will provide you with chocolate and rainboots in those inevitable moments of overwhelming doubt. They are the ones like my amazing Kindness Crew who join me on the craziest of missions without question, whether its high-fiving commuters or handing out flowers to hospital patients who speak no English, as we did on Wednesday. More on this later…)

4. Inspiration is fleeting. (Keep on truckin’, put in the perspiration and when inspiration returns you will be glad you did. And while you’re waiting, hang out with your cheerleaders as much as you can.)

5. We all have superpowers. (How are you going to change the world?)

6. If karma exists, it certainly isn’t instant. (Doing anything for the sole purpose of getting something out of it never works. But guess what? You can create your own positive karma by letting go of expectations and enjoying the process.)

7. Every person has a story and a lesson. (When you start to really look and listen, you can find wisdom in the most unexpected places .)

8. You are not alone. (No matter how crazy your journey may seem, there are always others on a similar path. Be brave and shout out your deepest loves, fears and dreams – I promise you will find kindred spirits.)

9. Listen to your instincts. (They always, always know the right thing to do. Always.)

10. Kindness is powerful.

Kindness is not weakness. Kindness is not foolish. Kindness is not the easy option. Sometimes you feel like a lunatic being kind. Sometimes it seems like the world has run out of kindness altogether. But actually, it is everywhere. And it is endlessly powerful. It creates smiles. It brightens days. It builds bridges. It is contageous. It opens up doors to experiences, connections and lessons that otherwise would have been lost. It ripples out beyond giver and reciever in the most unexpectedly wonderful ways. Year of Kindness has not always gone according to plan and that’s a good thing. Despite the unexpected twists and turns (or perhaps because of them) I believe now more than ever in the power of kindness. And you should too.

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19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. viewsfromsue
    Oct 18, 2011 @ 22:39:35

    You are such an inspiration, as I pursue my own ongoing mission of committing deliberate acts of kindness. 🙂

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Oct 22, 2011 @ 08:03:54

      Thankyou for reading and responding, Sue. It’s wonderful that you are committing deliberate acts of kindness. I’d love to hear about your experiences. I’ve found its not as easy to stay inspired as you would think, but its definitely worth it when you keep on going regardless! 🙂

      Reply

  2. Eric Winger
    Oct 19, 2011 @ 02:56:44

    5. We all have superpowers. (How are you going to change the world?)

    Keep it up, Wonder Woman!

    Reply

  3. politeandparanoid
    Oct 19, 2011 @ 03:58:59

    Number 2 has plagued me my whole life! But I’m working on it 🙂 Thank you for being kind and sharing kindness to people you see and those you don’t (through this blog).

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Oct 22, 2011 @ 08:12:14

      It’s funny, I think it plagues everyone – even the people that seem most confident and self-assured sometimes aren’t kind enough to themselves. I think being aware of it is the first step to getting over it. But I’m getting the feeling its probably a life-long battle!

      Reply

  4. Roberta
    Oct 19, 2011 @ 05:35:47

    You said it all and very well..Thank you! sometimes it does seem that the world has been overtaken by non-kind people, but they are unsung heros behind the scenes..sometimes quiet and obscure…but you know them when they cross your path..

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Oct 22, 2011 @ 08:15:03

      Definitely, Roberta. It seems we are trained to look for the negative around us and so that is what we see. But if we re-train our brains to look for the positive, we find there is just as much of it all around us all the time. Kind of like when you buy a new car and you suddenly see the same kind of car absolutely everywhere!

      Reply

  5. OnEveryStreet
    Oct 19, 2011 @ 06:09:47

    Thank you ! You’re just amazing 🙂

    Reply

  6. Coyotemoonwatch
    Oct 19, 2011 @ 07:11:51

    I’m not religious and don’t “do church” on any kind of a regular basis, but on the times I have gone to church (every few years at the most at the invite of a friend or family member) , I’m always sort of shocked that it seems like that preacher is preaching right to me. When I first found your blog, silly me but I thought it was a bit corny. Not the acts you do but talking about it. I’m not sure why; maybe it’s like, “Well, duh, isn’t everybody kind? Why talk about it?” Well, we know there is in fact a different reality out there,, and you have painted a bit of that picture without passing judgment, which is part of the beauty I find in reading your postings. So I signed up to get it delivered to my in-box, and now, every time a new post arrives, a quiet joy settles into me to read it right away. Your wonderful message is so easily shared and much more easily heard in the conveyance of your simple experiences. No preaching. I’m like a child whose hand you’ve taken in yours to walk this path and point out its treasures, and in that these truths are revealed — to you and to your readers. Here’s to happy dance cat who is walking the walk and sharing the beauty of what you’re seeing and learning. It’s far from corny. Thanks for your courage to live this year as you have and remind others of its simple beauty

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Oct 22, 2011 @ 08:43:38

      Thankyou so much for sharing your thoughts so honestly and openly. I’m not religious either and I absolutely had the same dilemma when I first started this project – do I really need to write about the kind acts? Doesn’t that sort of take away from it somehow by making it about me instead of the kindness? But I really wanted to explore the way kindness influences and shapes us, and I decided to share my experiences to show that if I can do it, so can anyone.

      Six months on, I am so very glad I started this blog because it not only gave me a place to share, it has also enabled me to connect with and learn from so many inspiring and insightful kindness crusaders all over the world. Thanks for reading and responding, for making me think and making me smile.

      Cat

      Reply

  7. atomsofthought
    Oct 22, 2011 @ 01:49:40

    Every item on your list hit home for me. I can’t rank one above another, but I think that the fact of #2 sabotages a lot of potential acts of kindness before they even get off the ground.

    Reply

  8. brittany220
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 06:20:13

    Great lessons from your journey, thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Reply

  9. sheila7697
    Dec 07, 2011 @ 16:23:29

    Love your list and I agree with all your points. Congratulations on a great concept and for sticking with it! ~ Sheila

    Reply

  10. 12 Novels in 12 Months
    Dec 09, 2011 @ 11:16:18

    Cat, it’s been so long since I’ve checked your blog and I’m so glad I stopped by.

    With the Christmas season upon us, I think there’s the heightened sense of kindness and I’m in support of that but I’ve begun looking for year-long projects to volunteer with. Next week my dog and I meet with 2 different nursing homes for the therapeutic paws program and I’ve bought an extra lunch some days to give to a homeless person. There’s another project I plan on starting in the new year.

    I have you to thank for this change in my perspective and renewed desire to volunteer and brighten someone’s day. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this gift. You are an amazing person, Cat.

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Dec 10, 2011 @ 09:03:35

      You’re so right, Sandra. There is something about the holiday season that brings out the kinder side of (almost) everyone. I’ve noticed so many more little kindnesses being exchanged. The paws program sounds fantastic – I had no idea such a thing existed but it sounds incredibly powerful. Dogs are the most beautiful animals, and they have so much unconditional love that they can’t help but have a positive, healing influence. And buying lunch for a homeless person is such a wonderful giving thing to do.

      It’s absolutely all you – it takes a lot of courage to show kindness to complete strangers, and sometimes we just need a little push to find that courage and take the first step. Keep it up! 🙂

      Reply

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