S2 EP123 – Conscious Kindness

Episode Summary

In this episode of the Inner Bonding Podcast, Dr. Margaret Paul and Erika Chopich, creators of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process, talk about the conscious choice of kindness, and how it’s shaped them.

Many people believe that kindness makes you weak, but that’s not true when it comes from the loving adult. The ego wounded self however, is.

Transcript

Do you allow your natural kindness to shine forth? Is kindness your highest priority, your guiding light, and if not, what is? Are you confusing gentleness and kindness with weakness? Learn about the feeling of ‘elevation’ and why you might be moved to tears and benevolence by witnessing acts of kindness. Kindness is magical regarding your own happiness!

Hi everyone. Dr. Margaret Paul here, with the Inner Bonding podcast. Today I will be talking about the topic of conscious kindness.

I like this quote by Emmanuel Swedenborg, who lived from 1688-1772, and was a scientist, philosopher, and theologian

 “Kindness is an inner desire that makes us want to do good things even if we do not get anything in return. It is the joy of our life to do them. When we do good things from this inner desire, there is kindness in everything we think, say, want and do.”

Kindness is a natural aspect of our essence, our true soul self – our inner child. Whenever I ask my clients to open to learning with their spiritual guidance about who they were as small children – before they learned their fears and false beliefs – they invariably say that they were kind, loving and caring little beings.

Yet many people have problems finding that inner desire to do good things with no reward from others. Many people have never experienced the joy of operating from that inner desire to be kind and caring. Instead, they have been programmed to give only when they expect to get something in return. They may feel a momentary good feeling from getting what they want from another – approval, attention, monetary gain, sex and so on – but then they need to keep giving to get, to receive more of the momentary good feeling. They completely bypass the great joy that comes from being kind to others from a place within that is full of overflowing love.

One of the things I’ve noticed about Dr. Erika Chopich, the co-creator of Inner Bonding, is that it’s very easy for her to offer what I call little drops of love with whoever she meets. It’s like she brings a little bit of sunlight and joy to people all the time. Erika came up with the title to this podcast, so I interviewed her about this topic.

“When did you start doing this?” I asked her.

“I started doing it in high school,” she said. “My first paying job was at the Dairy Queen, and I started to notice right away that customers would come up to place the order, and even though they were buying ice cream, a lot of them couldn’t smile, or they would look down as though they were having a very hard time, or something was wrong. My aunt was my role model for noticing things like this because she was such a kind person with other people. I learned from her that I could get them to smile or feel a little bit lighter just by using my sense of humor or engaging them, or sometimes I put an extra cherry on top of their order, or a little something else extra to make them smile. Or I would notice that maybe they had a beautiful sweater on or that they had gorgeous eyes and I would make a comment about that, and I noticed that not only did it lift them, but I was also lifting myself, and my shift went better and my work was easier and I tended to glide more through the day rather than get into the tediousness of the same old routine. So now it seems to be kind of automatic.”

I asked her, “How long did it take before you started to naturally do this without thinking about it?”

“Just a few weeks,” she said, “and now it’s integrated into my being anywhere I go. I know that people could use a smile or use a moment of uplift, or I use my sense of humor to make them laugh. It’s not to receive anything, it’s to give something, because when I give, I feel better about life. I feel better about people. I feel better in general. It’s not the same as pulling on someone so that they’ll see you or approve of you that comes from the wounded self. What I’m doing is opening my heart to help elevate that person, even if it’s only for a moment, even if it’s just to make them smile or give them a compliment or to make them laugh or to tell them I really appreciate what they just did for me. It matters. The kindness always matters. Sometimes I offer it in a parking lot when somebody is struggling with a package. I’m always there to help them. Or when somebody opens the door for me, I never let that go unnoticed. I looked them in the eye, and I say, “Thank you for your help, that was so kind.” I don’t just go, ‘ Thanks.’ I give them more than that and it’s natural to me now. I do it without thinking about it. It’s just my way of being in the world now.”

“One of the things I’ve noticed about you,” I said, “is that you never seem to differentiate between somebody who’s homeless or somebody who’s a waiter or somebody who’s a checker or somebody who’s well-dressed or obviously wealthy. How did you get to the point of never differentiating, of being equally kind no matter who the person is?”

“I think somewhere along the line,” she said, “I realized that we’re all in this together and status aside, we all basically have the same struggles and the same needs. It’s the reason God gave us each other to begin with so that we could be there for one another, so even though my contact with somebody might be fleeting, my caring isn’t. I’m hoping that I can impact their whole day, make it just a little bit brighter or a little bit better, and then maybe they would pay that forward.”

“But, I said, “you seem to be able to see beyond the outer and connect with who the person is on the inner level. How did that come about for you?”

“It came about,” she said, “because I learned to connect to their eyes. I look them in the eyes. I don’t look past them. I don’t look at their clothing or their hairstyle. I look them right in the eye and because I have naturally soft eyes, people tend to hold my gaze and when you connect to the soul, there is no outer. There’s only heart to heart.”

“I sometimes get so focused,” I said, “on what I have to get done, or on what I’m doing, that I can miss the interaction with the person. That never seems to happen for you, and I’m wondering what you do on the inner level that gets you so present with people, rather than on what you’re doing when you’re in person and in the presence of another person?”

“I’m also in the presence of God,” she said. “They are as much a part of God as you are, and I recognize that in each person. I recognize their God spark, and that’s what I address. It’s been a profound experience for me. Like the other day I was interacting with a checker at the grocery store and as I pushed my cart towards the car, she came running behind me and said, “Just a minute. Can I give you a hug?” and it came right back to me tenfold. I know that her day was changed entirely because somebody took the time to see her and see her God spark. That is natural to me. It’s the same thing I do with all the animals. There’s a God spark in every living thing.

“The other day when you and I were in the bank, I was waiting in the air- conditioned car because it was so hot and you mentioned to the teller that I had had a stroke, and that teller took time out of her day to walk all the way out to the car to see me and to talk to me and to wish me well, because of all the years of interactions I’d had with her, and how I always remember to ask about her kids and how she’s doing, and to thank her for her fine work, and for how careful she is. I always make eye contact with her, and I tried to give her an uplift every time I would be at her window, and that came back to me in such a kind and caring way. It wasn’t that she came out just to be polite. She came out because she genuinely cared. That’s a God-to-God moment.

“God created each person so there’s a God spark in every person. It’s that spark that I connect with, and that I respect and treat carefully, because being on the planet isn’t always very easy. I know that, and sometimes they’ll tell me more about maybe a child they’re dealing with, or they just took their dog to the vet, and I offer them some kindness and maybe even a prayer, which means a great deal to people.”

Because of Erika’s stroke, she has someone go with her to the market, and I asked her to talk about what she told me when she went shopping with her helper, Angie.

“Oh yeah,” Erika said. “We were in Ace Hardware, and I had to stop and ask one of the red vest guys where something was and we chatted a while and when we got to the checkout stand, the checker and I chatted a while and had this nice exchange. As we walked out of the store Angie said to me, ‘Is it always like that with you? I mean do people feel compelled to talk to you all the time?’ And I said, ‘Yes I think they do feel compelled to engage and talk to me.’ I thought about that. I started thinking about why they feel compelled to engage me, and I think the reason is the softness in my eyes and the softness in my energy. There is no threat. There’s no competition. There is no wounded self. There’s just me giving them a breath of love and they respond to that and want to reach back to me and tell me a little about themselves, and I take the time to listen and to respond to them or take the time to make them laugh and I think that’s how it was meant to be. We are meant to be there for each other through all of life’s challenges, and all the difficulties we face. You don’t have to know someone to be there for them. You just need to care, and you need to be open. You need to have an open energy. They pick up your open energy. They see it in your eyes. They feel it in your energy. They feel an invitation.

“I think sometimes the reason people don’t do what I do is because they’re afraid they’ll either get taken advantage of or manipulated, or somebody will trick them or pull the wool over their eyes, or want something from them, which comes from fear. Because I’m open, I’m super sensitive if somebody tries to trick me. I would know in a heartbeat. I don’t have to worry about that. I would feel that negative vibe right away. I don’t have to protect myself. I just know. It’s the openness that gives me the sensitivity that leads to my knowingness. The other reason sometimes people don’t engage that way is because they just don’t care, and if you don’t care, it tells me your life is empty and you’re not living your life. You’re just marking time and that’s a very lonely place to be.”

“But the other reason for me,” I said, “is being too goal oriented and not being present in the moment. When I’m doing a task, I tend to be very focused on the doing, so I sometimes bypass the being in those moments. The challenge is to be doing from a place of being, which I see you do so well.”

Erika seems to be able to be both a doing and a being person at the same time!

I like this quote by Author Eric Hoffer: “Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.” 

Have you ever noticed that when you act kind, you feel kind? People often believe that they need to feel kind and compassionate before they can act kind and compassionate, but this is not true. Often it is choosing to act kind that fills the heart and soul with the wonderful feeling of kindness toward yourself and others.

Think about a natural disaster situation – a fire, a flood, an earthquake, a tsunami, a hurricane, or a tornado, or what’s currently happening in the Ukraine. Many people rush in to help, not waiting to feel kind before being kind. And in their acts of kindness, they feel full, expansive, and fulfilled.

Perhaps we are wired to feel good within when we are being kind.

This doesn’t just work with being kind to others – it also works with being kind to ourselves. The kinder and more compassionate we are to ourselves, the better we feel.

You don’t have to wait to feel kind and compassionate toward yourself to be kind to yourself. You just need to want to.   

But what might be in the way of wanting to be kind?

Since kindness feels so good, how come we are not always kind with ourselves and others? Here are some of the false beliefs I’ve uncovered regarding why people might not be kind.

  • If I’m kind, I will be used, taken advantage of, walked all over

This false belief is one Erika mentioned. Many people confuse kindness with weakness. In fact, the opposite is true: Kindness comes from the loving adult – not the wounded self. It is the wounded self who is weak and can be taken advantage of. The kinder we are to ourselves, the stronger and more worthy we feel, and the easier it is to be kind to others without giving ourselves up. It is never kind to ourselves or to others to allow others to use us and take advantage of us.

I love this quote by Kahlil Gibran “Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair but manifestations of strength and resolution.”

Being kind to ourselves and others gives us the strength to set loving limits against being used and taken advantage of. It’s very sad to me that many people believe that kindness is weakness – and that harshness and judgmental-ness indicate strength. It is the wounded self who believes that strength lies in being a bully, while the loving adult knows that true strength is about feeling intrinsically worthy, which kindness fosters. 

  • Another false belief is: If I’m kind to myself, I will not be motivated to do what I need to do. I have to be hard on myself to get myself to do things right.

All the research on self-compassion indicates the exact opposite – that the kinder you are to yourself, the more motivated you are to fully manifest yourself, and the more you are naturally kind to others.

  • Another false belief is: If I’m kind to someone who has hurt me, then I’m condoning their behavior and letting them off the hook.

Just as forgiveness and condoning are two entirely different things, kindness and condoning are also two entirely different things. Kindness toward unloving people is something you do for yourself because it makes you feel good about yourself. You can be kind to someone and still not accept their unloving, destructive, or self-destructive behavior.

Kindness does not mean being ‘nice’ as opposed to being loving. It does not mean being unauthentic or not telling the truth. We can be very kind and still be authentically honest with someone who is being unloving to themselves, to others, or to us. Kindness means telling our truth without being judgmental.

  • A fourth common false belief is: Why should I be kind to people who are not kind to me?

Do you really want others’ behavior to determine who you are? Do you really want to be a weak, reactive person rather than a strong proactive person who decides for yourself the kind of person you want to be?

You might want to give kindness a chance, and you might be surprised at the magic of it!

Have you ever thought of making kindness your guiding light?

What is your guiding light most of the time? What is your highest priority, the thing that is most important to you most of the time? As I go through this list, be honest with yourself. Pick one or more things from this list that are most often your guiding light.

  • Being right
  • Having your way
  • Being in control of how people feel about you
  • Being in control of what people think of you
  • Avoiding your painful feelings
  • Never being taken advantage of
  • Getting love, approval, and attention
  • Being in a relationship
  • Having children
  • Having sex
  • Food, alcohol, or drugs
  • Looking good
  • Getting away with doing as little as possible
  • Not being controlled by anyone
  • Winning
  • Doing things right, being perfect
  • Never making a mistake
  • Avoiding failure
  • Being taken care of emotionally
  • Being taken care of financially
  • Making money
  • Getting things done – accomplishing things

When you have any these as your guiding light, then you will likely be harsh and judgmental toward yourself, trying to control yourself and others. You will likely abandon yourself in other ways as well – ignoring the anxiety, stress, and depression that all this causes, and turning to various addictions instead.

What if you decided to make kindness to yourself and others your guiding light?

Much would change.

Instead of placing your value on any of what I listed – what people think, getting what you want, making lots of money, how you look, how you perform, and so on – you would place your value on your kindness toward yourself and others. You would define your worth by your compassion, generosity, caring, understanding, gentleness, tenderness, honesty, reliability, warmth, and aliveness. This does not mean that you would not want to be successful, but it does mean that the means does not justify the ends. You would not be unkind to others to get what you want, because being unkind to others is never loving to yourself.

Your soul essence is naturally kind and caring, so anytime you are unkind to others, you are going against yourself – you are in “bad faith” with yourself. This hurts you on the soul level and is therefore unloving to yourself. You can never feel good about yourself while being unkind and uncaring toward others.

Your wounded self might say, “If you make kindness your guiding light, you will not be successful. You will not get enough done.” What I’m talking about here is not about not getting things done or not moving toward success; it’s about attaching your value to kindness, rather than to success, approval, getting things done, and so on.

Kindness comes from a place of deep personal power. The more you practice Inner Bonding and learn to be loving to yourself – taking responsibility for your own feelings – the more you will be able to make kindness your guiding light. And the more you make kindness your guiding light, the better you will feel about yourself.

Making conscious kindness your guiding light is not something you do once, and then it is done. It is a moment-by-moment decision – a decision that comes from remembering that you get to choose who you want to be, moment by moment. The more often you choose kindness, the easier it becomes to choose it the next time you have an opportunity to be kind.

Have you ever been moved to tears by acts of kindness? This happens to me all the time and I’ve often wondered about it.

I read an article by Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor, where he wrote about tearing up at watching the Pope’s kindness. (https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/06/europe/pope-elevation/index.html).

He wrote: “I was surprised to find my eyes tearing, accompanied by a short burst of benevolence. I felt a brief urge to hug everyone in the room. (I am not a hugger.)

“Covering my tears’ tracks, I turned to a colleague. He was emotional, too.”

Burke wondered why this occurs. He discovered that it is quite common and is even contagious. Some psychologists have called this emotion “elevation.” This feeling not only can move us to tears, it can also move us toward caring acts with others, because it creates a feeling of oneness with others.

This is good news because the more we feel a sense of oneness with each other, the less we will act out in ways that hurt each other. Most of our societal problems would be solved if more people felt a sense of oneness with others – regardless of race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.

I’m often moved to tears by videos of people’s beautiful acts of kindness toward each other, as well as videos of the kindness of animals toward each other, such as a dog mothering a kitten, or a loving relationship between a dog and a deer. I often think, “Are they smarter than we are?” They don’t seem to care whether they are of different colors and different breeds. They show love no matter whether the coat is black or white or multi-colored. Why do some people judge people by the color of their skin rather than remembering that, on the soul level, we are all one?

I once had a profound experience of someone unexpectedly offering kindness. I was in line at the airport, waiting for the flight attendant to take my ticket and get on the plane. I noticed that the tall, older Black man, who was taking the tickets, said something to each person, and that then many of them broke into a huge smile and others hugged him, and they all walked onto the plane with a smile and a lightness in their step. I don’t remember what he said to me, because what he said was way less important than his pure, unconditionally loving energy that he offered me with his eyes and his smile. I immediately felt the tears well up and I gave him a big hug.

The energy on this plane was palpably sweeter because of this one man’s love and kindness.

Washington Irving said, “A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles.”

We all could benefit from seeing more examples of the acts of kindness that move us to the feeling of elevation and oneness with others. What if a major cable TV station showed nothing but inspiring acts of kindness? Certainly, one or more of the billionaires on our planet could create this station and with enough exposure, we could be experiencing elevation any time we turned on the channel, stimulating our sense of oneness and benevolence toward others and a desire to offer more acts of kindness.

What if the ‘burst of benevolence’ that Daniel Burke felt was magnified millions of times over on our planet, from our individual acts of kindness?

I would love this. Wouldn’t you?

I hope you join me for my 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”

And you can heal your relationships with my 30-Day online video relationship course: Wildly, Deeply, Joyously in Love.

You can learn so much about loving yourself and creating loving relationships from my recent books:

And we have much to offer you at our website at https:www.innerbonding.com.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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