Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Kindness Project: Opinions


Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good. But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren't feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, starting with a series of inspirational posts.

". . . when we reach out even when we aren't feeling entirely whole." I love that phrase in The Kindness Project's mission statement. Because if we only act kind and do kind and are kind when we feel kind, what does that really mean anyway?

Not much if you ask me.

But then, you didn't ask me, did you? You didn't say you wanted my opinion, but I gave it to you anyway. We do that often--give our opinions when they aren't asked for, I mean. If we all kept track for a day, maybe even for a week, of the times we give an opinion--an unsolicited opinion--just how many opinions that no one asked for are we giving out? My guess is . . . LOTS. More than too many.

I've been thinking about this lately, and I've concluded that most of the time, people don't want my opinion. They simply want me to listen. So I've been working on it--keeping my opinions to myself unless specifically asked for one, that is.

And I've been listening more.

And listening better.

I say I'm working on it. Meaning I don't always succeed. With time, I won't have to work so hard on it; it will become part of who I am.

Visit others posting with The Kindness Project this month:
Next month, The Kindness Project launches a group blog. Details forthcoming.

Be searching for what kind of kindness you can spread.
 

23 comments:

  1. Listening is good, I think it's something we all need to do more of. But we're fixers by nature so it's natural to jump in with solutions. This is something I need to work on too.

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  2. Fabulous post! And JUST listening is so hard for me! I just want to fix things and provide solutions, but sometimes I just need to listen. Thank you for the reminder to work on it. :)

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  3. You know, it's a lot easier listening than giving your opinion. And you can't go wrong just listening.

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  4. I need to work on listening more too. Thanks for reminding us.

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  5. Awesome insight, Barbara! I think you're absolutely right, and I do the exact same thing. I think I'm going to put this one into practice starting... NOW! :o) <3

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  6. I had never thought about this in this way before... but I see immediately how right you are. Less opinion. More listening. Love it. Now I'll try to do it. :0) Wish me luck!

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  7. This is something I've worked on for years! My mind tends to run a mile a minute, so even when I've heard one thing, my mind is already running with that one thing, and sometimes I stop listening. I've gotten better at it, but not without a lot of effort, and sometimes (often) I still fail. I think I'm my longest-running WIP.

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  8. Great post! There must be something in the air. My daughter Maggie is doing a series of posts about being kind to herself and among them a wonderful post on listening you might enjoy: http://www.maggiehollinbeck.com/2012/09/being-a-compassionate-witness/. I'm sending kind thoughts your way, Barbara!

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  9. It's so true Barbara. I remember discovering this in my mother's group right after I had my first child and thinking what an important discovery it was.

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  10. Barbara, thanks for reminding me of why we have two ears but only one mouth ...besides the fact that we'd probably look funny. :)

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  11. I think it's great how you're learning how to listen more! That's something we all need to work on, I think. I once took a communications class (it was a required college credit), and I remember learning how a lot of people don't take the time to listen properly. In a conversation, they're usually just waiting for the opportunity to share their own thoughts, which really isn't communicating at all; it's simply talking. Learning to listen is so important!

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  12. Have you ever read the Bucket Filling books? They have them for children and adults--wonderful ways to spread kindess:-) Hope your bucket is filled today with joy!

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  13. "When we reach out even when we aren't feeling entirely whole."

    LOVE this! Such an awesome reminder!!!

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  14. Excellent point, Barbara. We all need to listen more. Especially when we're bombarded so much by social media, with all its millions of voices trying to be heard at once (there's a reason I think of Twitter as The Tower of "Babble").

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  15. I love this, Barbara. I'm working on that too. Happy Wednesday!

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  16. There are few things kinder than lending a listening ear :)

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  17. So true. Making that effort only when you want to is still a form of selfishness. I have to remember to extend kindness all the time.

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  18. I stumble over this one a lot--too often I'm thinking about what I want to say next. Thanks for the reminder. And nice meeting you, btw!

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  19. Such a great point. I think sometimes I think I'm listening but really I might be only half-listening because I'm thinking about my opinion, instead of thinking about what it means for the other person.

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  20. If we wait until we feel perfectly whole to be kind to others, that day may never come! And I think it's important for people to reach out from both sides. Often, someone will complain that no one is reaching out to them, yet they themselves are unwilling to reach out. They wait for kindness to arrive on their doorstep instead of making any effort on their part.

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  21. What a great post! I am going to try to work on this more, too. I think it might add a little more to the world- or to the world around me. Thanks! I hope to make some progress with this.
    ~Jess

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  22. You've nudged me in the right direction. I always appreciate that.

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  23. What a great idea!

    And I'm super guilty of offering my opinion, or even worse, unsolicited advice. It's a bad habit I have, but meant in the harmless of ways. Listening is key with any relationship. We should all learn to do more of it.

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