The Case for Kindness: YOU Are Your Choices
Presented by: Gail Lowney Alofsin
“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”
– Dr. Wayne Dyer
No matter how great things may be going in your life, there will always be stress, challenges, and unexpected situations. At times you may feel discouraged and confused. You start to question your relationships, career choices and actions. Life is not a color-within-the lines journey.
We have choices. How do you manage your choices? As the late Wayne Dyer professed in the quote above – “choose kind”.
Kindness fuels connection. It helps you and others to feel good about your conversations and interactions. Kindness is a gamechanger.
Awareness of our Tone.
Albert Mehrabian, a researcher of body language and interpersonal communication, was the first to analyze in-person conversation. He created the 7-38-55% rule – a formula where communication is evaluated as 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal, and 7% words.
38% of our communication is our tone. The way we deliver our words can influence the meaning of the word itself. While we want to choose our words carefully, we also want to be conscious of our delivery, through both body language and tone. We have the ability to hurt people deeply or make their day. Choose the latter.
Less Judgment. More Perspective.
Socrates was considered the wisest man in Greece until his death 399 BC. Hailed as the father of philosophy, he introduced the Triple-Filter Test. Before judging a person or situation, Socrates would examine the “facts” through three filters – the filter of truth, the filter of good and the filter of useful. Socrates would counsel his students (including Plato and Aristotle) to consider if the message or topic they wanted to share was not truthful, good or useful – why share it at all?
We all judge. It is human nature. We can use the Triple Filter Test as we confront everyday gossip, misunderstandings, and situations. Choosing this method will evoke more kindness. Kindness leads to camaraderie both personally and professionally. Camaraderie leads to more positive outcomes and a heightened peace of mind.
Empathy as a Superpower.
Empathy is relating to a person’s vulnerability, situation, and feelings. It does not involve coming up with a solution to their challenge. Empathy starts with listening attentively – body language, eye contact, leaning in and placing your mobile device out of view. Whether or not you can recognize or relate to the way your friend or colleague is feeling, your complete presence forms a connection.
Francesca Donlan, an adjunct professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, teaches a course titled: The Kindness Effect. We had the privilege of welcoming Francesca as a guest lecturer to my classrooms at the University of Rhode Island and Salve Regina University. In addition to sharing the research that kindness increases our energy, happiness, self-esteem, sexuality, and optimism, Francesca shared the foundation of kindness includes being kind to YOURSELF. Take a good look at your self-talk. If it is not positive, start a list of your attributes, your gifts, the abundance in your life. Take a good look at this list. Additionally, consider who are you spending time with. Are these individuals lifting you up or bringing your heart down?
Kindness as a Choice
When you are stressed, adrenaline can cause you to feel overwhelmed, aggravated and exhausted. Instead of being snippy or impatient, practice kindness every day.
It takes 21 days to form a new habit. Why not focus on kindness as a choice? Start with your daily interactions - being kind to servers at restaurants, baristas at the coffee shop, cashiers at the grocery store, your colleagues and clients at work, your family. Say something kind or simply offer a smile. It all accumulates, there are no small gestures.
One of my students gave me a small ceramic sign that I look at every day. The message: The Joy is in the Journey. Let our journeys start on a path of kindness. It will make it a much gentler and meaningful journey with kindness as the stepping-stones along the way.
Gail Lowney Alofsin is an author, speaker, adjunct professor and business executive. Her new book, Your Someday is NOW – What are you Waiting For? has raised over $44,000 for non-profit organizations.
A lifelong student and humanitarian, Gail believes that we all have the capability to be a leader in our own lives, influencing the lives of others to positive peak performance and success. She can be reached at 401-640-4418, email@example.com or visit her website: gailspeaks.com