Why Be Kind? | Kindness | Word of the Year

Why Be Kind? | Kindness | Word of the Year

 “I have found that it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folks that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love” 

– J.R.R Tolkien, in his acclaimed book The Hobbit.

Kindness | Word of the Year 2023 | WOTY

I know I’ve been super quiet ever since the new year started; without even giving any of you a heads-up. Apologies, but I’m back, and hopefully will be more consistent going forward. 

And please be warmed, errr warned (it may warm your hearts too;-)) this is a Long Post alert. That’s what happens when you write after a hiatus. 😉

You may wonder what I have been upto. I’ve spent all of January reflecting, travelling, writing for my work with wildlife and sustainability, and last but not at all the least, imbibing my Word of the Year (WOTY) – Kindness. My WOTY  was mostly in place as the new year began, but I needed time to watch how I could work around it.

So, here I am; embracing every bit of Kindness that I can, for myself and those around me.

 

kindness-meaning-kind
Credits: The Minds Journal

Why Be Kind | Why I Chose Kindness as My Word of the Year 2023 

We live in a partially broken world, riddled with hatred, intolerance, anger, grudges and distrust; all of which keep us away from being the truest versions of ourselves. But kindness and love is a glue that holds us together, lightens the burdens we carry, creates a ripple effect of love and bonhomie. Kindness has the power to transform people and situations.

Kindness can heal. A simple act of kindness can go a long way in transforming lives.
Beach-cornseller-kindness
Met this grandma who was in her 80s; in Antalya, Turkey late last year. She was selling corn and that toothy grin melted my heart. Though I was not hungry, but I bought corn from her, knowing this small gesture may ensure her next meal.

 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV rightly said:

“This is my simple religion. No need for temples, no need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.”

I have realised that more often than not, the language we speak to ourselves is unkind, loaded with judgement and self-deprecating words. We knowingly, or unknowingly put ourselves down, and sometimes try to compare ourselves to others; while placing them on a pedestal. 

Kindness begins with us. If we are kind to our own selves and the personal dialogue or voice we use for ourselves is kind, we can infect others with the same kind of emotion. When we judge ourselves, we judge others too.

Our environment truly is a reflection of ourselves.

Quote-Lady Gaga-Kindness

This blue planet of ours continues to be torn with much strife and hatred, but all things done with a kind heart can have a ripple effect. Each small act of kindness can go a long way in changing people’s hearts. 

Kindness begets kindness. Therefore, I chose Kindness as my Word of the Year.

Sprinkle kindness like confetti; and watch the world around you change for the better. Click To Tweet

WOTYs from the Years Gone By

Looking back at my WOTYs from the past, and here are the words that defined and healed me.

Nurture  in 2018

Breathe in 2019

Self-Love/Self-Care for 2020 (Didn’t got around to writing about it, but managed to follow it to the T.)

Aligned in 2021

Balanced Flow in 2022 and here’s how I fared with it. 

Komorebi: Sunrise tree
Inviting Kindness into my soul.

I am grateful how wonderfully all these words played out in my life, teaching me new lessons, helping me grow, heal and let go of all that no longer served me.

Setting up a new word every year does not translate to letting go of those that we chose in the years past. I continue to work with them till date. It’s just that a new word becomes the theme for that specific year.

 

Moving Forward with Kindness in my Heart | How to be Kind

 

“No one has ever become poor by giving,”

Anne Frank

Kindness-buddha doodles
Credits: Buddha Doodles

There is no other gift like kindness. It makes us the richest and fills our hearts with overflowing love, peace and joy.

Some of the ways I practise and intend to practise being kind to myself and those around me, in the year ahead are listed here:

1. Self Care:

Being mindful of the words I speak to myself, or about myself. Not comparing myself with others, as we are all unique and on our own journeys, mostly walking each other home. Remembering that – “Kindness begins with oneself.”

Taking time to meditate, practise yoga, go on nature walks with myself and my furry girls, spend time birding and watching wildlife, spend time in the lap of nature, watch sunsets and sunrises, unplug from technology, read every single day, write a journal, take myself on dates, dance, garden, listen to music, eat nourishing foods and sometimes even cheat with the not-so healthy ones, watch some soulful films and shows, pamper myself with all the homemade bath salts, face-packs, oils, scrubs etc., I’ve lovingly prepared. Take breaks, to write away from home. Some days in the lap of nature, sometimes at the cafe next door. 

My cup of cheer and kindness, a plant-based cappuccino with a lovely book to boot.

 

2. Operating from a Space of Loving Kindness:

“Hugs. Not Horns.” – Chris Abraham

Moving through life in a state of metta or loving kindness for those who carry hate, pain and trauma in their hearts. To forgive effortlessly, like I always have. To rejoice in others’ victory and progress, accept them with their flaws, without engaging from a space of judgement. Choose my words wisely. To respond with compassion and not react with exasperation, as much as I can.

Our words can nourish people and turn them into spectacular beings.

“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness” – Audrey Hepburn

Quote-Kind

Kindness begins at home, and sometimes we are unkind to the ones we love the most. A very important lesson is to treat everyone equally, and the way I wish to be treated myself- with kindness.

Loving Kindness does not just include being kind to people and family around me, but to nature and wildlife. To be aware of the things I use and buy, so that they don’t impact the planet in the long run. Staying single use plastic free, repurposing, reusing, pitching in to save and conserve wildlife, nature and Mother Gaia. 

3. Expressing Kindness without Expecting:

Kindness does not always need to be returned with a kind favour or a thank you. Sometimes the purest experience of kindness is just the joy of giving, and the wholesome compassion that surrounds it. 

My mother-in-law once told me, “When you help others don’t expect them to return your favour. You will be surprised that  help comes from the most unknown people, quarters and strangers.”  I etched these words in my heart and thereafter have had innumerable experiences to prove these words.

I shall continue to help homeless people, the less privileged and homeless animals and those that need caring for; like I have in the years gone by. That gives me a sense of fulfilment like no other. 

“Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  – Plato/Socrates/Philo

hand-grass-yellow-dragonfly
Loving kindness conversation with a dragon fly I met in the forests recently.

Where I Have Been Going with Kindness So Far

Operating from a space of compassion, gratitude and loving kindness has left me feeling far more happier, recharged, peaceful and healed. It has enriched my days and kept my interactions joyous and wholesome. 

 

kindness-buddha-doodles
Credits: Buddha Doodles

I feel far more grounded practising this word from my heart. I stop myself in the tracks, if I judge myself or others, and replace the thought with loving kindness. It makes things lighter, optimistic and helps with my healing journey. 

Like every year I distributed blankets and food during these cold winters. I keep buying the security guard by the cafe next door, some hot meals. I carry little food items or gifts for the homeless at the traffic lights.

I’m more tolerant towards my loved ones, without being quick to judge or react. It’s lent a whole lot of inner peace and camaraderie.

I start my mornings by being kind to myself and the day ahead. I write a gratitude journal every morning and at bed time. It proves to be a reminder that there is so much to be grateful for. It paves way for more kindness in my heart. 

Kindness has been my confetti of bliss. I hope to keep powering along with it, as the year goes by. And I know new doors are sure to open with kindness.

Do you have a Word of the Year for 2023?

If yes, would love to hear yours; if not what word would you like to work with?

I can even help you frame yours if you like. Let’s talk.

Sprinkling kindness, love, light and laughter your way.

Warm hugs, laced with kindness and love. ♥♥

Natasha

[ In another news: My blog was listed 21 among the Top 100 lifestyle blogs of India, by FeedSpot early this January 2023.]

juice-cat-books-cafe
Turkish Delight (I named her that) was a gorgeous, stray kitten I met at Istanbul. We were both kind to each other; she with her warm cuddles and company, and me by lending her my lap that she loved curling up to. Read our story here.

 

Linking up with lovely Lisa for “How well we know our Word of the Year”,

Also jumping in with the incredible Cathy and Alana for Monday Mewsic Moves, terrific Trent for Weekly Smiles and my magnificent Wordless Wednesday gang Sandee, Keith, Suzana, Brian, Steve this week. 

 

Kindness-buddha-doodles
Credits: Buddha Doodles

 

46 thoughts on “Why Be Kind? | Kindness | Word of the Year

  1. Natasha, I loved your article on kindness. The world needs so much of it. Especially we ourselves. Kindness is the only quality that sets a person apart. Otherwise nobody has time to be kind. Amazing writing. Congratulations!.

  2. I did a word of the year for several years and then abandoned the practice because I would forget my word and just go forward with my life. But for our world, kindness is the perfect word of the year because it is up to us to repair our broken world. No one else will do it for us. Your post made me think of some of the many kindnesses I’ve been recipient of, many of which I haven’t thought of in many years. Great song choices, too.

    1. That’s why I signed up for Lisa’s posts this year, that hold us accountable by helping us review our word every month.

      Yes, we are fortunate to be gifted with so much kindness around us. Turkey’s devastation is an example of how people come together to help and rescue, and pitch in during dire times.

  3. You inspire me to tell a story. Our older daughter, now a retired Speech Pathologist, just reminded me of an incident when she was not quite four years old. Her mother had just given birth to our third child (second daughter) and she was so happy for her. In those days the new mother stayed a couple of nights in the hospital, but children were not allowed to visit the maternity ward and nursery. Our next door neighbor was an excellent gardener and had a row of beautiful tulips growing all along our side of their home. Our daughter loved the various flowers and when she was very small always tried to pick them anytime she found them, even where she should not have. We had to tell her “no” so many times that her name for flowers was “no-no’s.” Unbeknownst to me, she helped herself to almost every one of our neighbor’s row of tulips and proudly presented them as a planned gift for her mother and new sister. I was very angry and accompanied her, with flowers in hand, to apologize to the unsuspecting neighbor. We knocked on the door and she answered. Before we could say anything, she acclaimed “What beautiful flowers– You love flowers as much as I do.” Of course I told her the back story and was very apologetic, but her kindness overcame my anger at our daughter’s errant behavior. I brought her to the hospital, where my wife was able to wave at her from her window and throw kisses of thanksgiving for the fresh bouquet.
    Ken Schneider recently posted…Crops & Clips: Flashback to February, 2020My Profile

    1. What a precious, endearing anecdote, dear Ken from your pages of life.

      Thank you so much for sharing with me. Made me smile and teary eyed a bit.
      Sometimes all we need is these humbling gestures in life to get rid of our dos and donts.

  4. A delightful piece Natasha, with plenty to think about along the way. Kindness needn’t cost a penny, it’s free to give. We should attempt an act of kindness a day, whether it be helping someone cross the road or simply feeding the birds! I’ve never considered having a word of the year, so I think I might just borrow yours…if that’s okay!
    Keith Hillman recently posted…It’s a sixa!My Profile

    1. Be my guest dear, dear Keith. We need kindness to spread like a ripple effect.

      And to have a dear friend imbibe it is the cherry on my cake.

      One of my goals is one small act of kindness everyday too.
      Yesterday I fed a hungry cow I met – bought her some fresh peas and she looked happy thereafter.

      Today I picked up after someone else’s litter, outside our condominium.

      I’d like to keep this going.
      Wish me luck.

  5. That’s a beautiful word to start the New Year with, dear Natasha ♥ Kindness is a natural gift that we should cherish furrever… even if we give a bitey or being naughty and disobedient 😀
    We loved your postie, and we were in it from the start to the end, as you wrote it so clear and so beautiful. Also the songs were so matching and great, we love Brad Paisley, Grandpaw is a great fan 🙂
    That pussycat is one big dude of kindness, those eyes expurresses it all ♥
    So glad you’re back, my kind, warmhearted furriend ♥ Double Pawkisses from us especially for you and a big hug from Granny too ♥♥♥
    Angel Binky, Stippie, Peachy and Granny recently posted…Easy does it…My Profile

    1. Dear Gran, Stippie, Peachy and Angel Binky,

      So chuffed to hear granpaw is a fan too of Brad Piasely.

      Yes, Turkish Delight was a complete delight and I miss them. 🙂

      Biggest hugs and kisses.

  6. This is a gorgeous post, Natasha. Kindness is a beautiful word to focus on for the year and a beautiful principle to make everyday practice. I will bookmark it to reference later. I have a kindness post planned for the Kindness Day, later this month–as if I haven’t written 10 or 15 posts on kindness already! 😀

  7. Such a beautiful and heartwarming write, Natasha. We have the power to make a difference with our kindness. May you continue to do what you do so lovingly. Much love to you. ❤️

  8. I love that you’ve chosen Kindness as your word. What a beautiful treasure you will be to those around you all year! The Dalai Lama is such a great example of kindness. He inspires all of us to be more compassionate and kind to each other. You’ve got a great plan to live out your word!

  9. I love your serene posts!
    It’s difficult for me to understand why kindness, respect, compassion, love
    are not spreaded more in the world. The peoples’ minds using these words – ideas – actions
    would be changed completely and obvious our world too. Why is it so difficult?
    It’s a sort of blindness around us!
    I like your word. For a a few years I use the word simplification. I still use it, because I still
    have a lot to work!
    All the best, dear Natasha!
    Happy WW and much kindness, love, light! ❤️

  10. Kindness is such an easy thing to do and to spread. With a smile, a hug or kind words. I love this post Natasha and I love you too.

    Thank you for joining the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Wordless Wednesday. Love and hugs my dear friend. May your day be filled with kindness. ♥
    Sandee recently posted…Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

  11. This is such a beautiful post, Natasha!
    I didn’t select any words for the year, but last year, around November, I decided to focus on self-love. One need not wait for the new year to adopt a philosophy, right? 🙂
    So, although I try my best to follow it, it’s my mind that needs more love, more caring and kind thoughts, especially for myself. At times, I tend to judge myself…harshly…which I know is so wrong.
    I hope your post inspires me to be kind to myself in every way.

    1. That’s so true Shilpa. Anytime is a good time, for us to heal and grow.

      I hope you are inspired to be kind to yourself even more now. Put a little note that reads “Be Kind to Myself” some where you can see all the time. See if it helps.

      Sending you loving, kind thoughts. <3

  12. I love the C. S Lewis quote – in the lockdowns, I’d try to focus on those instances of kindness as I really sort of lost faith in society a bit (when they were stripping the shops etc). So I do think it’s true. It does lift our spirits, even if we just bare witness not benefit.
    I really like the Practical Minds Journal definition but I need to think about it a bit more, to see how it fits in my life. Or how to make it part of my way of being.
    I can see why you pickeed it as your word – and I really love your phrase ‘confetti of bliss’. We all need a bit more of that….

  13. How beautiful is this post, Natasha. Kindness begins within us. Kind was my word of the year for 2016 and it translated in to my life beautifully at that time. Every year since, I had been tempted to choose kind as the word. I always remind myself to remember what kindness mean to me. And it always has to start from within us.
    You are a beautiful soul, Natasha. May you be blessed with a kinder year ahead.
    Vinitha recently posted…FICTION MONDAY – 135My Profile

    1. Thank you dear dear Vinitha for your loving, kind words.

      You are a beautiful soul yourself, and you see the goodness in others. May your life be blessed and overflowing with love and kindness too.

  14. Natasha,

    Kindness is something we all need to be a little more of to ourselves and others. You can’t ever go wrong by being too kind to another. I loved the kindness quotes and tips on being a little kinder. Life is certainly way too short. The mark we leave in the hearts of others will be all that’s remembered when we’re no longer in this world. Spread a little kindness!

    PS: I fixed your link post title to read correctly. Thanks for letting me know!

  15. Hello, dear Natasha! <3
    I am happy to see you again in your beautiful virtual house!
    You have chosen a wonderful path for this year as well! "Kindness" is more than a word! I also like what the Dalai Lama and your mother-in-law said.
    My mother told me not to expect gratitude from those whom I happen to help… I think I knew this even without her telling me. As many times as I needed help, there was always someone to offer me help – several times the help came from people I didn't know or from whom I didn't expect… The power of kindness is really great!
    May you have goodness on your way through life!
    I hug you with love! Big hug! <3

  16. I’ve been waiting for this post and it was so well worth the wait, Natasha.
    Absolutely loved how you’ve delved into various facets of the word and also shared practical ways it can be lived!
    That Lady Gaga quote is so relevant for me. Thank you!
    Congratulations on your blog’s success – I have no doubt that it appeals to so many.
    Stay kind – especially to yourself. ♥
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Unboxing My Word Of The YearMy Profile

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