Have you ever seen that bumper sticker that says "Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty"? I have always loved that, for the play on words and the sentiment it expresses. Do good things for no reason. How simple and lovely! I have been trying to be kinder, more accepting, and less cynical. Some days that's easier than others, of course, but I think I'm making progress. I smile more at people, and make eye contact, instead of avoiding gazes when I'm out at the store. I even gave someone the benefit of the doubt today, when in the past I would've showed them the door.
Now, there's a fine line between kindness and being a doormat, and I am not putting out an invitation to walk on me. I am all about setting healthy limits and letting people know their boundaries. However, even bad news can be delivered in a kind manner. This avoids conflicts even when we don't get what we want. Think about the crabby cashier who tells you your coupon expired, or the smiling one who explains the same thing, but then offers you another coupon to use next time. Same news, but I go away with a completely different attitude.
Kindness can make another person feel good, but I benefit, too. I feel lighter, and when I reflect back on my day, I have less regret. I have also read some about the law of attraction. Now I have not read The Secret, and I do not believe that thinking about a Mercedes is going to put one into your garage. But I do believe that the kindness and good thoughts you transmit come back to you in other ways. Maybe someone holds the door for me when I approach with my heavy cart, or a seat at Starbucks is offered to me on a busy morning. It's really these small things that help foster a connection to others, and allow us to live in our true nature.