Be brave. Be kind.
Brave (adj): show courage.
Kind (adj): generous, helpful, and caring about other people.
When you read the dictionary definitions of these two words, it doesn't seem that hard to be brave or kind, right?
Yet being kind seems kind of bold in our increasingly fractured and divided world. Why? Maybe because being kind means you are creating a moment of vulnerability in a society where people seem to be putting on more armor daily. You are choosing to act in a humane and civil manner in a world that feels like it's getting a bit less civilized. You are choosing to care.
But that's okay. Heck, it's better than okay! Choosing to care is the way we help each other and this world.
So get out there and be brave and kind. Be kind and brave. But don't be kind of brave. (That never seems to work out as well. If you're going to be brave, go for it!)
And don't get caught in the idea that every act must be big or grandiose. Being brave and kind doesn't have to be that hard or that overwhelming. Start small. There is no competition that you can win for being kind. After all, kindness isn't about winning. It's about caring, remember?
As Judith Orloff reminds us: "Don't think you have to be Mother Teresa. In your life, start with random acts of kindness, a springboard to other outlets. Do at least one good deed a day … feel the energy rush from that. Then consider expanding your repertoire."
We know how good it can feel to be kind … but we don't always do it. Why? Because maybe we're stressed or scared or bored or just waiting for someone else to do the heavy lifting. We're tired.
Yet if we don't take the time to change the world, who will?
Be brave. Be kind. And when you're extending kindness, remember to be compassionate with yourself, also. (You can't give what you don't have.) "Meet yourself with kindness and self-love," teaches Panache Desai. Like we are reminded in this interview with Martha Beck, healing oneself can be achieved with deliberate and repeated patience and kindness.
Lastly, don't pollute your own mind! Like Sylvia Boorstein says, "The Buddha taught kindness towards everyone, including oneself. If I get mad at my neighbor next door, or if I nullify the country next door, I pollute my own mind."
Simple moves can have major effects. Because, as Shinzen Young reminds us: "You can dramatically extend life—not by multiplying the number of your years, but by expanding the fullness of your moments."