The Season of Giving
And so this is Christmas!
It has me, again, pondering the nature of gifts and of giving, and I am reminded of Rumi's famous quote:
"When we practice loving kindness and compassion
we are the first ones to profit."
Even the most minute act of kindness has the power to not only transform another's life, it can also bring new meaning to our own.
As the world devolves into one composed of selfies, self-absorption and the image of the "ideal" life, it can be an increasing challenge to maintain an internal state that ponders what joy and kindness you can bring to others in your life as opposed to focusing on what we deserve to get, and how we can best show it off.
We now live in a time where the rights of the few outweigh the rights of the many - more so the Era of the Individual than that of community. And as a whole, we are increasingly feeling more isolated despite all of these "connections" on social media. Ironically, we are losing a fundamental aspect of our Humanity: Connection.
Studies show we spend around 60% of our conversations speaking about ourselves and experiences which jumps to 80% on social media. I find, constantly, that most conversation is really just a pause between monologues where people "listen" only to the point that they can interject something about themselves, as opposed to truly Listening.
The main reason for this is because it generates an internal reward - in other words, it feels good. But what if there is another way to feel this way and also benefit others? Lucky for us, there is!
Being kind cultivates empathy, compassion and gratitude and helps us consider the needs of others, as well as our own. This helps take us out of our inherent self-centered tendencies and constant need for external social validation. There is a true freedom in this action and I can think of no better way to create meaningful Connection with others.
Be Kind because it is who you are and who you want to be, not because it "looks good" socially. Anonymous altruism can be the most sincere kind of altruism, and there's nothing selfish about it when it's done from the heart and with a judicial mind so that the act of giving is not in and of itself enabling.
In this regard, I believe that Aesop, a famous Ancient Greek well known for his fables, said it best:
"The level of our success is limited only by our imagination and
no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted."
This is the true Spirit of Christmas!
It costs nothing to be kind, but it's a gift that is priceless.
Merry Christmas everyone!
I am grateful for, and cherish, each and every one of you!