“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the dark journey with us. Oh, be swift to love, make haste to be kind.” ~Henri Frederic Amiel
We talked earlier about how fear seems to be the biggest and most common barrier to both giving and receiving kindness. But it’s not the only one.
Time is another big factor. We’re all overscheduled and overwhelmed. You wouldn’t think that should make a difference, but it does. In recent years, when I’ve spoken to groups and conferences about kindness, someone often comes up to me afterward and says, “I really would like to be kinder, but I’m just so busy. I don’t have time.”
I get that. Because it can take time to extend kindness. Continue reading →
“Give, give, give—what is the point of having experience, knowledge or talent if I don’t give it away? Of having stories if I don’t tell them to others? Of having wealth if I don’t share it? I don’t intend to be cremated with any of it! It is in giving that I connect with others, with the world and with the divine.” ~Isabel Allende
We all know people who withhold their gifts. For whatever reason, they choose not to share a favorite recipe, contribute their expertise, bestow a compliment … or extend a kindness. Too often, they die with the gift they were meant to offer locked away in a drawer or clutched tightly in their fist.
Such miserliness may come from a sense that our talents will not be fully appreciated or compensated. So we hold back, waiting for just the right time—which never comes. Or maybe our offering isn’t perfect yet—thus, we hesitate and wait, afraid to admit our imperfection, or see the trap that’s always shrouded within the illusion of perfection. Still others of us were raised to have a sense of scarcity: if I give what I have, there will be less for me. I must hoard my treasures, otherwise I will somehow be diminished.
It took me a while to learn that this isn’t how life works. Continue reading →