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The Art of Kindness

We’ve all had those moments when we’ve had to deal with someone who seems like they’ve just lost everything—their home, family, dog, cat, and best friend—all within the last few moments, and they’re no longer sad. They’re just really angry. Or maybe we have to regularly engage with someone who is the constant Debbie Downer, seeing life through a negative lens (“Oh, you’re flying to Florida? Did you hear about that last plane crash?”), or Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh, clearly missing the zing for life (Cue the deep, slow music here). Ugh, right? When you have to communicate with people who are shrouded in negativity, it can be exhausting and draining—especially if you have deal with them on a regular basis.

So—Ding! Ding!—here’s an important suggestion: Don’t let their negativity change who YOU are! Don’t let your joy, zest for life, and sweetness drop into their black hole of despair. Don’t let them change how YOU act or react! Yes, it’s challenging, but that’s why Kindness (with a capital “K”) has to take the form of art. It has to ebb and flow and change colors depending on each person you come in contact with. It’s easy to be kind to nice people. The challenge—the art—comes in to play when you have to contend with pessimistic people. You need to paint them in a different way and allow your bright colors to rub off on them. Remember: don’t take on their dark shades; let your vivid personality wash over them.

Recognize that you really don’t know if they actually did lose their home, family, dog or best friend or if they just haven’t found a way to change the lens of their glasses or climb out of the pit they’ve fallen into. Maybe your smile, handshake, or kind word will be the only beam of sunlight that touches them that day. And maybe you’ll make a difference. If you choose to stay positive, your heart will feel the difference. Your own life will remain bright and the world around you will become a beautiful canvas on which you’ll paint a masterpiece!

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