“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” — Albert Schweitzer, Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, 1953
The other day I asked Misti for her thoughts on a good theme for November. Without missing a beat she answered with a single word, “Kindness.” I was struck by its simultaneous timelessness and timeliness.
The news around us shows a world increasingly ravaged by wars, conflicts, mass-shootings, political infighting and a lack of civility (especially in on-line communications). It seems that as a society we’ve lost appreciation for how kindness can positively impact those immediately around us, and through a chain-reaction the world more broadly.
I’m not referring to the small acts of kindness as one-offs in and of themselves. Don’t get me wrong, those are important behaviors in building a character of kindness. More importantly, I’m reflecting on how acting with kindness and understanding engenders kindness and understanding. When we approach our interactions with others from a place of kindness it facilitates positive relationships, productive dialogues, and empathetic understanding – all of which are foundational to constructive solutions to the problems we face in life.
In personal and professional relationships, kindness purchases stronger loyalty and commitment than fear or subordination. Kindness is a signal of strength and confidence in ourselves and our interactions with others. As Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people.” Quite the contrary, when we have kind characters and genuinely interact accordingly with others, it builds the self-worth of the giver and demonstrates that value-system to the receiver.
With kindness present in our thoughts and behaviors, we can productively engage one another about difficult topics on which we may disagree and have effective conversations, seeking to understand and to be understood. Acting with kindness does not mean we have to or will come to agreement on those topics, but it can govern the way we treat one another allowing for civil discourse.
Fundamentally, it comes down to acting as Brene Brown suggested, “First and foremost, we need to be the adults we want our children to be.” Or as my favorite teacher said, “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).
October Client Engagement Winners!
A shout out to the folks who highly valued their fitness and were frequent guests in the gym during October! We’re pleased to hand out some gift cards to The Bookworm as a sign of appreciation for their consistent attendance!:
Personal Training Winner
Group Fitness Class Winner
Keep up with your fitness goals! November is a new month and a new opportunity to win a gift card from some of our local Riverwalk merchants!