Loving Kind: Putting Others First

Love is a big word. It encompasses the feeling you with God, within romantic relationships, for your parents, your child, husband, wife, love for your dog, your favorite ice-cream, and when you enjoy an experience so much that you “just love it!”. In many relationships where there is love, there is also hate. A kind person focuses on seeing what they love rather than focusing on what they hate.

It is easy to be loving when people are nice. We often are very loving to our family and friends—but the people who take advantage of us or are rude and inconsiderate are more of a challenge. The hardest loving kind of task is to love the unkind, or the haters. This are the people who are difficult, who insult, are rude, and who you want to run the other way from rather than counter their rudeness with loving statements and actions.

One of the easiest ways to commit to being loving and kind is to always choose to love. Try using your smile on everyone you meet during the day, greet others with sincerity and warmth, think of thoughtful ways you can do things for another person, speak gingerly on sensitive matters, and give more hugs. Being a loving kind of person is being thoughtful when people are going through a difficult time, listening, affirming with words, or being supportive in other ways. It is choosing to always speak well of others, countering negative talk and gossip about others. It is being welcoming, inclusive, and excited to see someone, grateful they exist and appreciating their good qualities.

Kindness is love in action by having empathy and consideration for another person and acting upon it. We all can do this, even if it is in a small way. Notice people who could use extra kindness especially this month. You might pick a certain person and see what you can do over a certain amount of time. See how your kindness affects them. One of the easiest ways is in how we speak. Sincere compliments and words of kindness are rare. Notice who may need kind words and speak them. How many times do you catch yourself speaking hatefully? Speak only of the positive about anything and be generous in what you have to say about others.

Most of all, loving others means putting others first. Bring a smile on their face. When you love another person by considering their wants, feelings, and needs as a priority, you are being loving and the kind of person others want to be around. Practice kindness by loving this way to all you meet. You will increase in humbleness and you will see that you are loving people with your kindness without even trying.

When you love, it comes back to you in some way! It’s always worth being a loving kind of person—and run toward kindness as fast as you can!

—Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness

Love to read more? Shop these books online…

The Power of Kindness:
The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life–Tenth Anniversary Edition

by Piero Ferrucci and Dalai Lama

HumanKind: Changing the World One Small Act At a Time
by Brad Aronson

The Hidden Power of Kindness: A Practical Handbook for Souls Who Dare to Transform the World, One Deed at a Time
by Lawrence G. Lovasik

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A How-To Holiday Guide Special Edition Article: Preparing for the Gift

Make your gifts special this year adding a little extra thought and pizzazz. Here are some options of how to give a gift to someone!

Option 1:
The first is taking a gift you have purchased and just handing it to someone. After all, the thought is in the actual present isn’t it? This seems a little too efficient and a little dull, as if the gift was just handed off. While there will most likely be appreciation, there is not much thoughtfulness with this option.

Option 2:
The second, more common option, is wrapping a gift—and not just wrapping a gift but finding just the right wrapping paper. There are all sorts of ways to wrap a present. In the olden days, before wrapping paper, there was newspaper. A person would sort through the newspaper for the comic section and use it to wrap a gift. A special, news section, might be preferred, or the sports section if the person was a sports fanatic. For those with children, mothers instruct children how to disassemble a paper bag to use to wrap a gift and then decorate it. As specialty designed wrapping paper created with love, a child’s artwork on the wrapping paper is a way to add a nice extra touch which family members can cherish. For adults who are wrapping paper connoisseurs, with a flair for the hunt of the perfect paper, there are a variety of designs to choose such as reindeer, snow, trees, seasonal words, religious art, Santa, candy canes, swirls and stars, trendy holiday printable patterns and colors, and red, green, blue, white, as well as shiny silver, and gold. Wrapping paper can cost anywhere from $1 at a dollar store to $20 per roll or more. Wrapping a gift with wrapping paper is a talent in itself by carefully folding the ends just right and and taping the gift seamlessly with nimble fingers of tape. For others, services are available to hire someone to wrap the gift professionally for you. [Have you ever seen an ad hiring for a gift wrapper asking for your resume of experience? More real than Santa’s elves, job postings like this actually exist.] Then of course there are boxes and bags of all sizes, to-from labels, ribbons and tissue paper with just about as many varieties as wrapping paper, and to make it a hallmark gift, don’t forget to include a special card. You could potentially spend a fortune making this gift special all to be disposed. And what is so intriguing about that? The anticipation. You are paying for anticipation and thoughtfulness but it is fairly important as part of the presentation. As an added benefit to the fun, part of preparing the gift is the giddiness that comes from having a secret surprise for someone. With the hope to bring them honor and happiness with it, gift givers at the very least hope the gift is seen as a token of their thoughtfulness and love. The process of preparing a gift causes joy to the giver because of the thought and effort is for another and for their happiness, and as the saying goes “it is in giving that we also receive”.

Option 3:
Option three, is the gold package option when it comes to thoughtfulness and extra effort to make the gift special. One way is accessorizing the main gift with a series of presents to be opened all wrapped as one. Another way to make the gift unique, could be creating accessories to adorn the gift maybe with a customized ribbon which is braided, or a bookmark as a gift tag, or a USB drive as a to-you from-me hang tag with family photos loaded on it, or perhaps the present has been blessed especially if it is a gift where this is appropriate. What other creative ideas do you have? One unique gift I received once had miniature ornaments tied to the ribbon, which was both adorable and functional as it could be hung on my tree. These were kept as an unforgettable keepsake and the all the thoughtfulness that was put into the present was remembered for its uniqueness.

Part of the gold package option is not just the presentation of the gift but the presentation of how it is given. Often taken for granted is the presentation of making the gift special, beyond the wrapping paper. Reflect for a moment right now on how you give gifts. Do you hand it off with a big smile? Are you enthused cooing with words “I think you’ll just love this”, or do you just sort of nudge it with your finger across the table and make excuses like “I didn’t know what to get you”. Now, spend some time considering how you receive gifts. Do you open the gift with an expressionless facial expression in a placid manner with all lackluster? Or do you squeal? Without realizing it, more times than not, we respond as a response to the emotions of another person. It is a form of empathy and can be contagious. With the enthusiasm and happiness of gift giving, it can be rewarding for the gift giver to see that the gift is appreciated.

In Preparation and Anticipation
With gift giving, the way the gift is presented, the way it is wrapped, the thoughtfulness and the experience opening it, all are for the delight of the recipient adding up to the grand finale of finally discovering what is inside. All of this creates anticipation setting the stage for what is to come. Maybe it is a special gift which you have anticipated and are nervous about receiving. The giver can add a lot to the moment with how they present a gift setting the stage and mood either with enthusiasm, warmth, environment, or words indicating it is a very special gift.

Anticipation ties in with hope. It causes a person to hold their breath in a sense knowing something is to come. The same is with Christmas and Christ’s birth. We spend these last few weeks before Christmas in preparation for what is to come. It’s how you set the stage and prepare in anticipation for that ‘special moment’. Think of how you prepare for the gift and make that part of the present, both with the presents you are giving and preparing spiritually for Christmas.

—Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness

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Audio CD
Preparing for Christmas: Daily Reflections for Advent
by Richard Rohr O.F.M.

The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving
by Dawn Bryan

The Art of Gift Giving
by Shereen Elise Noon

Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention
by John Ruhlin

Gift Wrap
Birthday Custom Gift Wrap | Personalized Photo Gift Wrapping Paper
(6 Foot Roll, Confetti Party)

by Fun Gift Wrap

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Wish List for the Hopeful

Hope is positive thinking with the anticipation and expectation something will occur. It is a belief in what can happen, what is possible, and the good of what is believed will come. People who have hope have spirit of positiveness which is open to the possibilities of what can be rather than focus on the negative. Besides personal hope, there is also hope from doing good for others. For those who believe in karma, good actions toward another will result in a good outcome for them in areas of their life. They might be compelled to be kind toward others with the hope that their good works will benefit themselves in the long run because ‘what goes around comes around’.

Hope It’s Said Right

In How It Is Stated: When it comes to kindness and hope, a kind person will spread hope to others in the form of good will and good wishes. “I hope you feel better”, “I hope you get to come”, “I hope you are able to.” It is almost a form of a simple prayer because it asks for kindness to happen to another with belief when said sincerely

In How It Sounds: There is also an excitement which can come with having hope. This excitement can be contagious in anticipation for what is hoped for, and sometimes the combination of hope can be so strong that it actually will happen. When children squeal in excitement that they hope they can go to Disneyland, over the course of time, if it’s feasible, it’s likely what they hope for may very well happen. People want to fulfill the hopes and desires of others. When you state what you hope for, there is a chance it may happen. The same occurs with God and petitions, or prayer.

In Its Resilient Belief: When facing challenges in life, a person may have persevering hope which carries them through a trial helping to endure the most difficult parts. There also is the undying hope some have which will not go away. This can be a form of negative hope. There are times when having hope is not good to continue with. Usually this is in the form of certain relationships. One person may feel things should continue or hope for a change, and while this may seem heroic to have undying hope, unless there is a realistic possibility, it can be unhealthy—because there really is no hope.

Hoping well for another is a form of kindness. List how many times you think of others and have good, sincere wishes for them. Here’s hoping it’s plentiful! Maybe you are in a position to fulfill a hope that someone has. No time like the present of the season!

Clean Up Dallas with Culture and Kindness

Click on these resources on related topics…Shop online!

Wake Up to Hope: Devotional
by Joel and Victoria Osteen 

Facing Your Giants: God Still Does the Impossible
by Max Lucado

You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times
by Max Lucado

Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World
by Max Lucado

Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer
by Beth Moore

Hope for Today Bible

by Joel Osteen

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Faith and Kindness, and Checking It Twice Expresso

We would like to think that people who place an importance of faith in their life tend to be more kind. In most cases, this is true. People who are faith-based find accountability with God and the commandments, or the spiritual laws found in their religion. Faith-based people follow these spiritual laws because it is what will result in the greatest happiness long-term both in this life and the next. Rules exist for a reason, and usually it is to prevent harm. We are always free to break the rules, but at the cost of the loss of our own true happiness or as pain to others.

Living a good life and being loving people toward others is a way to honor God who created us. Having faith puts life in perspective providing guidance and direction. Instead of blindly trying to live life traveling a path without a conscience, a faith-based person has at least some guidelines of what to follow. These usually are based around love and making choices which will bring love and not hate to the world. From this love positive things can happen, whereas hate brings destruction.

Faith-based people also have the ability to make things change with their mindset and their faith in God. They see past low-points which may seem to be utter hopelessness and an end, and re-frame their mindset knowing instead that where they are is a temporary place which will change for the better in a future point in time—within the next second or over the course of years. They are able to see past the darkness of despair and are able to find a light within themselves, refusing to believe that hopelessness exists. Faith-based people are able to keep hope going when the wick is barely lit. Just like a candle which is used to light other candles, people who are faith-based can also use their faith to ignite the faith in others who may be going through a difficult time. They can do this through ministry or by praying for the other person. They also can share kind words of encouragement that they have faith that whatever the other is going through will soon change to something better.

People who are faith-based, spend time reflecting on their actions and how they are living their life on a regular basis. This reflection helps align their path with what is right and which will be the most loving path. Therefore, people who have faith tend to be more kind because they have a structure in place, with guidance to keep them on the path of being loving people. By spending more time with your faith, and with God, you will naturally have the desire to live a life which brings kindness to other people.

Shop for these online! View these selections…

Christian Books & Bibles

Love Kindness: Discover the Power of a Forgotten Christian Virtue
by Barry H. Corey

God of Miracles: Ordinary People Extraordinary Stories
by Jeff Barnhardt