Kindness is a lesson that most of us learn as a child. We remember how our parents showed kindness to the neighbor when ill and mowed their lawn or how meals were taken over to friends houses when loved ones past away. Today the speed of life is excelerated with technology and the ability to disconnect can seem impossible. All of the demands and stress can easily distract us from the people we love the most. Being kind to the boss or babysitter might be remembered but showing kindness to our partner can be forgotten with all the stress. A sharp tone, quick word, or rolled eyes quickly adds up and can hurt our most valued relationships. Before we know it our partner is hurt and reacting back. This can lead to a negative cycle in a relationship and poor communication.
Dr. Wayne Dryer and other psychologists remind us that kindness starts with our own actions and is then reflected back. Examples of small acts of kindness include asking your partner about their day, showing sincere interest, and putting technology away during conversations. These actions can be reciprocated and returned to us over time leading to healthier and stronger relationships.
As we remember to be kind to our partner we need to remember to also be kind to ourselves. In the rush to complete all the tasks on our lists, we can put our our needs on the back burner. Honoring the commitments we have to ourselves just as we honor those to our boss or children will help to bring balance. Treating the time at the gym as seriously as we treat the morning meeting at work, investing in healthy food to nourish our body, enjoying quite time, and investing in the actions that fills us up, can be looked at a necessary investment and an act of kindness.
By remembering to show kindness to ourselves and our partner, relationships can reap the rewards of better communication and healthier relationships. Stress, bad days, missed appointments, and everyday life will aways be apart of our lives but we can help our relationships survive and temper the trials with acts of kindness. For more information about kindness and relationships read Dan Peters, PhD article published at Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/worrier-warrior/201602/choosing-kindness.