• Are you caught up in the ocean of negativity that seems to be all around us? It’s difficult to maintain a positive and uplifting focus in light of all of the mud-slinging, name calling, and polarizing rhetoric. Take a stand for kindness and buck the trend.

    We tend to forget what an impact a simple act of kindness creates. It’s time to spread some love to ourselves and those around us. Think of yourself as the good fairy and sprinkle goodness all over the land. Kindness bridges distance and anger, and creates love and feelings of connection.

    Let me begin by describing the four verbal ways to express kindness.

    1. Be Positive

    Accentuating the positive can change your mood and make even a bad day better. For example, you can declare the latest party you threw a total bust because not many friends showed up or you could be delighted over the company of those who attended.

    Looking at the glass as half-full is nourishing to your soul. Leaving out the negative observations and focusing on the good, will elevate your inner state and positively affect those around you. As you go through your day, systematically replace the automatic “no” with “yes, yes, yes.”

    2. Give Praise

    Who doesn’t love being told what they’re doing right? In his book, The Power of Positive Parenting, Dr. Glenn Latham, a noted child psychologist, suggests that the ratio between praise and corrective feedback should be about ten to one. And this concept doesn’t just apply to children.

    Life will be rosier for everyone if we praise actions that we want to encourage and ditch the nagging and criticizing. We can’t get enough genuine praise, so keep it coming, especially when someone is going through a difficult time. Catch someone doing something good and try one of these:

    • I’m glad you brought that up.
    • You did a good job.
    • I really like what you just said.

    3. Slap on Appreciations

    A simple gesture of appreciation might be all that’s needed to bring love and connection into the room. It doesn’t negate the differences we might have, but sure can boost the connection. Find some characteristic or action you admire and voice it. These can be general or specific. Check out these examples of simple appreciations:

    • I appreciate how you helped me around the house on Saturday.
    • I appreciate your sense of integrity.
    • I like how thoughtful you are.
    • I appreciate that you cleaned your room this morning.
    • I’m glad you understand how I feel about this.

    4. Give Voice Gratitude

    Expressing thanks for what you usually take for granted reminds you of how fortunate and blessed you are. Giving thanks keeps the focus on your bounty and offsets complaints and feelings of entitlement. Specific gratitudes may be:

    • I’m grateful for my good health.
    • I’m grateful for my friends and family.
    • I’m grateful for this meal.
    • Thank you.

    5. How to Receive Acts of Kindness

    Giving kindness is only half of the equation. The other part is receiving what is offered. When you cringe, deflect, discount, and don’t let the kindness in, it’s because early messages have convinced you that you are not worthy or undeserving. You resist because you’ve been told it’s selfish or self-centered to toot our own horn. Being able to fully accept appreciations, thanks, and gratitudes is a major step in reclaiming your authentic self. Shake your head up and down, think “yes,” and after a pause, either say “thank you.” Just let the words soak in.

    When someone offers to lend a hand, say “thank you” and take in the gift you’ve just been given. At first, it might not be easy but it’s a great habit to cultivate.

    6. Make Kindness a Daily Practice

    Try writing three of your accomplishments, appreciations of yourself or others, or gratitudes every morning or evening for a month. Hanging out in kindness will lighten your load, brighten your outlook, and lift your heart. It’s so simple to do something for your world and make your love and feelings of connection blossom.

    Want to find out which destructive attitudes and emotions dominate your character? Take a quick survey here, then try the suggested strategies designed to address them.

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    Article by: Jude Bijou

    Jude Bijou, MA, MFT, is a respected psychotherapist, professional educator, and workshop leader. Her theory of Attitude Reconstruction® evolved over the course of more than 30 years working with clients as a licensed marriage and family therapist, and is the subject of her award-winning book, Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life. See more at www.AttitudeReconstruction.com.  

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