On Kindness as a Priority

After reading this article about whether or not parents are raising their children to be nice, I had to take a moment to reflect. Did my parents emphasize achievements more than being kind? My first reaction is to say no. But when I really think about an actual example… My parents would certainly be more proud of an A on a test than if I said I stopped studying to talk to a friend who needed emotional support. I think. I’m not sure, actually. I’m sure they would be proud of me either way, but just a bit more excited about that A.

So now, I’m a young adult who is responsible for her own actions. I certainly prioritize my future goals and dreams and accomplishments over taking time out to volunteer. I literally pencil family and and friends into my schedule (where time is already divvied out for school), and rarely do something completely spontaneous. To be very honest, I would be very grumpy to have to wake up at 3 in the morning to let in a roommate who locked her keys in her car, or heaven forbid, asked me to come pick her up from somewhere.

I’m not trying to say that I think I’m the most unkind, because I do take time to talk to all my friends no matter how much I just want to retreat into my room. I try to honor all my promises, and am working on becoming better at saying “no” when I know I don’t want to or can’t do something. And no matter how grumpy I would be to wake up in the middle of the night, I would do it. But maybe only for someone I truly cared about, someone who I know would return the favor in a heartbeat.

In other words, I’m kind when it’s convenient, and then put a little more effort into being nice to my friends and family.

But…You know, as I envision myself growing older, I want people to think I am a kind person. Not only do I want them to think that, but I actually want to be kind, to be happy to go out of my way for a stranger, to brighten up someone’s day with nice words, to make time for those who are important to me. I don’t want to be stingy with my money, time, brain power, or anything else. I want it to be a habit and a priority to think of others.

How to start? I will be more conscious of keeping my door open to roomies to say a casual hi when I am not on the brink of a test day. I can understand my anxiety right before a test, but it’ll be good to take a break from notes and stuff to chat for a few minutes. And I’m sure they will all understand when I shoo them out the door (politely) after 10 minutes or so.
I’d also like to hone my listening skills, to really focus on what someone is saying to me. I want to remember what is important to him/her.
Definitely volunteering is a major next step. It’s so easy for me to be stingy with time, especially because I love being in my room alone just thinking about stuff.

I think an important point for me is to better manage my time. I’m usually most unkind when I’m stressed out, and I get stressed out before deadlines, due dates, test days, etc. In order to manage that stress, I need to make it a priority to 1) realize it’s not the end of the world if I do poorly, because remember how those goals are not priority #1? They are priorities somewhere near the top of the list though, so I do want to make sure that 2) I use my time wisely in order to make it easy to be kind. I’ll set up my environment for success!


Talk to Me

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s