We are kind when we are friendly, helpful, generous, understanding, forgiving, and considerate.

Kindness is good for everyone. You give others both what they need and deserve. People feel good about you when you are kind. As you put out good, good comes back to you. Apart from the love that comes back to you, it just feels good to be kind.

Kindness is easy when we are feeling open hearted. Kindness can be difficult when we don’t feel like being kind, such as when we are threatened, hurt, angry, or just not feeling well. Then kindness becomes a conscious, intentional practice. The discipline of kindness helps us feel better when we are upset.

The freedom to be kind comes from mindfulness. We mindfully note the tightening inside when we are hurt, angry, or upset. We feel the urge to disconnect, to close down, to escape, or to retaliate. We then smile at our experience and relax into it. This unhooks us. Now we are free to respond intelligently with kindness rather than react impulsively out of anger. We are free to allow the natural force of kindness to flow through us. As we act with kindness, we heal the pain of the world.

Life goes best when we are unconditionally kind to others and ourselves. Unconditional kindness comes from unconditional reverence. Wake up every day and remind yourself as you move into your day that we are all sacred beings despite our ignorance and destructiveness. We owe each other our kindness.

When people hurt us, the urge to hurt back can arise. We generally don’t need to hurt others to protect ourselves. We can be kind while protecting ourselves. In fact, the best way to protect ourselves is by practicing kindness. Kindness eases the anger, fear, and hurt of others.

When you experience the disregard or destructiveness of others, remember that you too have been disregarding and destructive. Everyone, including you, carries the seeds of hatred, rage, and revenge. You need only notice the feeling that comes when you smash a bug to know how easy it can be to destroy life. Knowing this, have compassion for others when destructive emotions take over. This is our human condition.

Anger does not heal anger. Hatred does not heal hatred. If we wish our lives to be a force for good, we need to be a light of kindness in the darkness of hatred.

Be good to yourself by cultivating your kindness for yourself and others. You will benefit the most. Start every day with the conscious intention to be kind throughout the day. Make your goal to end the day having made life a little better for everyone you touched.

Cultivate kindness by taking the time to connect. Pause to give others your loving attention. Mindfully look and listen. Then you will see and hear. See and tend to the essence of others with good will in your heart. Seize the many opportunities that arise moment-by-moment to enhance other people’s lives. It could be as simple as a smile.

If you make this a daily, conscious, mindful practice, you will experience the quiet fullness of joy that comes from the practice of kindness.