In my experience, you will truly serve only what you love. If you love friends, you will serve your friends. If you love community, you will serve your community. If you love money, you will serve money. And if you love only yourself, you will serve only yourself, and you will have only yourself.Stephen Colbert from Why Humor Is A Secret Weapon in Business and Life
Bloggers and social media have been popping with memes and advice on the importance for people to ‘be nice’ and ‘be kind.’
These posts get us thinking but sometimes point the finger outward with advice toward how others should change their behavior rather than inwardly thinking on how we can act upon our own advice, create change in ourselves, and grow to be nicer and kinder.
Seth Godin on Martin Luther King day suggested 3 types of kindness — Small acts of kindness, kindness in the form of giving people the benefit of the doubt, and kindness in not seeking to maximize short-term gain.
The Art of Manliness distinguishes between the act of being nice as a way of making people feel good in the short term whereas kindness takes into account doing what is best for someone in the long term that may not make them feel good in the moment.
It’s really pretty basic. Daily focus on play and maintaining a playful perspective have kindness ‘built-in.’ Playfulness as a way to reframe situations helps maintain friends, make new friends and can (with intent) assist with Identity Diversification and a well balanced sense of self.
In his research Renee Proyer points out that a tendency toward humor, the appreciation of beauty and excellence, spontaneity, creativity, and being a team player are likely to predict if people are playful. Simply put, kind playful people are often smarter, more hopeful, creative, fun, funny, spontaneous, expressive, and silly.
Kind playful people are more often invited to the game and they understand the benefit of associating with diverse groups. Who doesn’t want these qualities and have the desire to be around others who feel the same way?
We’re working especially hard right now to be kinder and playful with our friends, co-workers, strangers, and for our own benefit. We’re even participating in a silly made-up virtual event and celebrating with a silly made up day on March 26th. We’re calling it Bee Kind Day, not to be confused with World Kindness Day.
It’s a prickly time right now. Many people are feeling the sting. If it’s difficult to even think about ‘being kind,’ ‘being playful,’ ‘being a friend’ or even ‘being nice’ maybe just focus on ‘not being’ a jerk is a step in the right direction. Baby Steps.