All of these good works boil down to showing love and kindness. This is the task of being a good human. It is not easy. If it was, the world would be a better place. We tend to lean into selfishness and conceit, greed and consumerism. We don’t do this on purpose; our culture teaches us these values and it doesn’t take much energy to fall into this trap. These attributes don’t allow room for truly serving one another. If we are always in a hurry, we tend to treat people like commodities or products rather than humans, this trend needs to end in our own lives. We can fight this selfishness and consumerism with love and kindness.
Kindness and love do not just happen at random. Generally, intentionality is needed when seeking to do good works. If we don’t go at this with intentionality, something will always keep us away from serving in our community. We need to be moving forward in acts of love and kindness, keeping them constantly before our hearts and minds. If we don’t make time, our schedules will get filled with less important things. Intentionality helps us do the things we feel we get to do. We can put love and kindness in our schedules and create space for them. Making space is important, because if you don’t set it aside you will fill it with something else.
Intentionality will help you create the “how to” of your acts of love and kindness. You need to figure out how youare going to work at this, what path you want to start going down. And then you start going down that path. It may change from time to time, but the purpose is to start and then keep at it. This won’t happen without intentionality.
If we prioritize love and kindness, we need to plan on living out these priorities. As we look at our priorities we can see what they are when looking at our time and money. If you spend all your time and money on yourself then this will indicate your priorities. There is a certain amount of time and money you need to spend our yourself:, a home, transportation, food, rest and relaxation are all good and needful things. Without taking care of ourselves, we will not be good at serving others. But if ALLour time and money go to serving ourselves, we need to adjust this so that our priorities of love and kindness toward others are being met as well. We can all make adjustments along the way to make sure our heart values are being translated into your life. If we value love and kindness than we will learn to put it into everything we do but it is going to take practice and vigilance in keeping our priorities.
Being thoughtful and putting someone else’s needs before your own is not something we are practiced at. We need to keep at it to practice. It is like a muscle that needs to be used if you want it to grow. The more we use this muscle the better we will be at it. Just like muscle memory, love and kindness can become our default way of life. With repetition we will learn acts of kindness that we are good at and can bless others with. We will learn what love looks like and what it doesn’t. We can see ways we were actually a blessing and ways in which we need to improve. This is not easy to do, but with time and practice we can get better at showing love and kindness that we have in our hearts.
Sincerity is key when we show love and kindness. Most people can figure out if we are being sincere or not. When we are not being sincere it is difficult to really show your love and kindness. People will not believe you. If you are volunteering somewhere, be sincere. The places that you volunteer don’t always need you to be happy and honesty can go a long way. I have served while having good days and bad. When the good days are in place it seems normal, but when bad days happen you can tell. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. In these moments I don’t make the time about my bad days, but I do confess I’m having a rough time and explain in a way that doesn’t overtake our time together. But I’ve found that being sincere helps others be sincere. We don’t need to be perfect “cape-blowing-in-the-wind” superhumans; we get to be sincere and that is more loving than being a hero.
As we strive to learn and grow in love and kindness, we will all make mistakes. The mistakes don’t have to define us; we can apologize and learn from our mistakes. This is a big part of showing love. Apologies allow others to know that perfection isn’t the standard we are shooting for, love is. Someone who is willing to admit when they make mistakes is trustworthy. We’ve all made mistakes but a willingness to admit them and ask for forgiveness is kind. I find those who are willing to ask for forgiveness with sincerity are willing to work harder on cultivating loving relationships.
Showing love and kindness in a world full of hate and greed is a powerful tool. It is healing and refreshing to experience. It is not an easy way of life but it is one full of friendship and gratitude. If you live this way you can make a huge difference. If we treat what culture deems as “lower” classes with love and kindness our hearts will be filled.