By Marie T. Russell
As I was reflecting
the other day on love – loving
ourselves, loving our neighbor,
loving the world itself -- it came to
me that with all the "stigma"
attached to the word love,
sometimes we may be at a loss as to
what it means.
Love has been portrayed as sex,
or as martyrdom, or as self-
Thus when we speak
of loving ourselves or loving others,
we may be unclear at to exactly
what that means.
A much simpler way, and maybe a
more understandable way, to
express that goal or vision is simply
to say "Be Kind".
Think about it, when we are kind to
someone we are definitely not
unloving -- when we are kind to
ourselves, that is loving ourselves –
when we are kind to the Earth, we
are demonstrating love inaction.
So maybe rather than trying to
practice Love Thy Neighbor As
Thyself, we could better understand
and practice, Be Kind to Your
Neighbor and To Your Self.
Now we all know what
Being kind has no
connotations (as love can have) of
sexuality or martyrdom.
is simply that -- being kind to
others, being kind to ourselves.
me, it just made Loving Myself and
Loving My Neighbor a whole lot
I just have to "be kind" to
myself, to "be kind" to my
I focus on having kind
thoughts, kind motives, kind
Random Acts of Kindness
You may remember some years
back a movement had started
having to do with Practicing
Random Acts of Kindness.
This involved such things as putting
money into parking meters when
you saw they were about to expire –
- even if you had no idea whose car
it was that you saving from a
It also involved
paying for the person behind you
when you got to the toll booth.
It had to do with being kind to
without expecting any reward or
thanks. Being kind to strangers.
Being kind just to be kind -- not
because someone expected it of you,
or because you felt guilty.
simply an act of love - unselfish,
We all certainly can use more
kindness in our lives.
When we eat
foods that we know are harmful to
our health and well-being, are we
being kind to our body, to
ourselves? When we insult
someone, or hold a grudge and
seethe with resentment, are we
being kind -- either to ourselves or
to them? After all, holding on to
anger raises our blood pressure and
creates havoc in our own body –
never mind the effect on the peace
and harmony in the room.
Am I Being Kind?
The question to ask ourselves as we
go about our day is "Am I Being
Kind?" The other day, as I sat with
a friend, I started teasing her about
As I did so, all of a
sudden I realized that I wasn't
being kind. Oops.
Now, my goal is
to remember, before I respond with
anger or impatience, or even
teasingly, to ask myself "Am I
being kind?" I find that a lot of
things that I "normally" thought
were fine (even jokes about our
government officials) are not kind.
So I rephrase my thoughts or words
to be kind -- honest, but kind.
It makes me feel better about
myself when I'm being kind and
I'm sure it makes the people
around me feel better as well.
Here's to all of us -- and the whole
planet -- practicing being kind to