“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.” is an old saying. I clearly remember chanting that to any one of my 8 brothers and sisters with a ” na..na..na” thrown in for emphasis. Perhaps you said it yourself on the playground back in the day? In truth, unkind words DO hurt! They go deep inside you and stay there, hidden in the cave of your heart, planting a lie that can grow and grow as more taunting or critical words are added throughout your life. Shock of all shocks — some of us actually believe those words!
Over the years, I have learned to hold my peace (or… piece of advice). Sit on it. Breathe in and out. And then, answer the criticism or false statement with what I truly believe in a “reasoned” and calm voice. I have learned to cultivate kindness. You might wonder, how do you do that? Well, I think about all of the good things in my life and work to keep an “attitude of gratitude”.
Here are some ways to “kill with kindness”
- Look for the longest line at the grocery store and help the person in front of you unload their groceries.
- Compliment the bank teller on her necklace.
- Smile at the harried mother and let her know what it’s like to have a misbehaving child.
- Hug your grandchild and tell him how proud you are of him.
- Compliment the salesperson for going out of their way for you.
- Look for opportunities throughout your day to spread cheer. I believe you’ll find that your day is lifted up and you’ll be whistling a happy tune as well.