I think about Jack Bauer often. Like a lot. Lately the world feels like a place where he would thrive.
It’s been nearly seven years since “24” went off the air, and he still pops into my head almost weekly. And don’t try to sell me on that “Designated Survivor” crap. I sat around waiting for him to torture and kidnap people and grew more disappointed as each episode passed. I don’t like my Kiefer level-headed and diplomatic.
When the world gets Jack-Bauer-level weird…like it has the past couple weeks (or months or years), I try to remind myself of the things we can control. Things like the simple actions we take as we move around the world. Things like kindness.
When I say “kindness,” you have a definition that pops into your head. A vision of what it looks like and how it feels to receive kindness. While you and I may have adjacent definitions, I guarantee they’re different. Each of us has a different vision, and I love that about us.
Kindness can mean patience, tolerance, giving compliments, treating people respectfully, sending gifts, checking in, truthfulness…the list goes on. Go ahead and think about your definition.
For me, kindness means truly seeking to understand someone. Asking questions. Being present and listening as they talk. It’s a gift to be seen and accepted for your whole multifaceted self.
I bet when you thought of your definition of kindness, you based it off of what you do for others and what others do for you, right? Samesies.
Here’s a fun thing…take that definition and flip it onto yourself. How does it feel? Creepy? Comfy? Unattainable? There’s a lot of talk about self-care and self-love floating around. Those things can seem like a lot of work, but think of it as simply taking your definition of kindness and turning it inward.
I’ve been holding a mirror to my kindness definition and as a result, am taking time to ask myself and reflect upon tough questions, working to understand and accept ALL parts of me, and staying present to listen to myself even when I’d rather be distracted. (especially when I’d rather be distracted)
Try it out. Pick one thing from your kindness definition and test it on yourself. Tell me what works.
When you practice being kind to yourself, it becomes the fiber of who you are and alters how you naturally show up in the world. And the world needs your special version of kindness now more than ever.
Today’s a great day to start! In the brilliant, gravelly words of Jack Bauer, “Dammit! We’re running out of TIME!”
I mean, he also said, “You make one sound and I will rip your tongue out.” But I like to think that “clearly communicating needs” is his definition of kindness.