Tag Archives: Lent

40 Days of Kindness

I’m typing this as I sit in Newark airport waiting for a friend. An elderly woman with several shopping bags sat next to me and plugged her phone in. She then laid out a blanket and I had a choice: to assume positive intent or expect the worst. And then she took out her Bible and began to pray. I see you, universe.

The world we live in is one where you have to be on guard. I took the train into the airport and walked right into the baggage area. No security. I’ve literally been thinking about this since it happened last week.

choose kindSo how do you do both? How do you stay vigilant, but kind? How do you not rush to judgements but also know when to trust your gut. I don’t know. And it’s the people who are the most threatening that need the most kindness. Look at the mass shootings over the last few years. These shooters are the ones we as a society missed. They fell through the cracks. The majority had some type of documented mental illness or behavioral issue. I’m not saying just be nice to someone and their illness magically goes away. But listening, caring and even a simple smile can change the trajectory of someone’s day.

What if they don’t want your kindness?! I smile at people on the subway and they look at me like I’m crazy likely because no one has ever done that to them before. Behavior is learned. If you never experienced kindness, or love, or encouragement or empathy before, how are you supposed to react? We as the human population have to get better at talking to people who are different from us. Different does not only mean look different, but have different experiences, beliefs and values.

Given it’s Lent and like the good Catholic girl I am, I’ve really been thinking about what should I do more of for the next 40 days. I’m not a fan of giving something up, but rather would want to take action.  So, I am committing to being more kind, to show more understanding, especially to those closest to me. It’s interesting that I can smile at strangers and strike up conversations, but I don’t do that with those in my inner circle. Something to ponder for the next 40 days.

I’m really interested on people’s perspective here. There’s such a fine line given the world we live in today. Please share your thoughts respectfully in the comments section.

everyone is fighting a battle

 

To My Sisters

Lent started on March 1 and if you’re a practicing Catholic, you give something up. So, I gave up apologizing, casually throwing around “I’m sorry” when it wasn’t needed and certainly when I didn’t mean it. I also made a point to find at least one woman, each day, who left on impression on me. Maybe she showed kindness, or strength or listened when I needed it. Plus it’s Women’s History Month, why not focus on my fierce lady friends!

sistasMy little mission yielded a few lessons or maybe observations is a better word for what I saw. In 31 days, women close to me and complete strangers influenced the trajectory of my day. Each, in her own way, raised me up: with encouragement, compassion, advice or a mug of wine. I didn’t struggle to identify someone each day; in fact it was the opposite, I couldn’t choose one name!

As I paid close attention to the women I interacted with, I also paid close attention to my apologizing tendency as well as other negative language I use without even thinking about it. I saw myself really thinking about  saying I’m sorry. I only did it when I truly meant it. It made such a difference!

Word choice and the language we use especially when talk about ourselves is important. In the last month, when I listened more closely to these same women, they were far less empowering when it came to speaking about themselves. I heard women struggling to accept compliments, be recognized, say thank you and talk positively about themselves. It wasn’t always the case but happened more often than not.

It’s been an enlightening 31 days and my intentionality around apologizing and language will continue past the month of March. Now my PSA: Ladies, our paths are different from our male counterparts. That is fact, however, don’t forget where we as a population have come from. We must own our power as women, to set the example for those behind us. You are whole, you are strong, you have God-given talents that no one else possesses. They are uniquely yours. Own them!

The way each woman who crossed my path this month acted is how we all must treat one another. With respect, humility, compassion and grace. We must raise each other up. When one succeeds, it is a victory for all. It sounds preachy and idealistic, I know. However, it’s the only way to move forward and to make sure everyone knows and appreciates a woman’s worth.

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