When we are asked to describe an ideal friend, many of us use the word “kind.” We are drawn to people who are trustworthy, sympathetic, thoughtful and caring. We may throw in some other “nice to haves,” but, at a fundamental level, simple human kindness is what we need from each other.
As we get a little older, our expectations about our relationships with other people change. “Like-minded” becomes less a matter of whether we like to do the same things and more a matter of whether we are the same kinds of people on the inside. After 60, we start to focus on the basics. We don’t need more people in our lives. We need the right people in our lives.
When it comes to dating after 60, we might say that we want a man with good looks, perfect etiquette, a sense of humor, intelligence and money. But, is this what we really want, deep down? Or, do we really want someone kind, who loves us completely and meets our emotional needs?
We all agree that kindness is important, but, how can we build more of it into our lives. Here are 3 ideas.
Self-kindness is often the hardest to practice. As older women, we have become used to taking care of other people. Kindness flows from our actions every day, enriching the lives of those around us.
At the same time, in my experience, the women who are kindest to others are often the ones that are hardest on themselves. They give others the benefit of the doubt, while blaming themselves for their “bad” decisions. They will spend money to improve the lives of their children and grandchildren, but, won’t invest in the things that would make them happy.
As women in our 60s and 70s, we need to learn to love ourselves at least as much as we love those around us. We need to turn our kindness inwards and love ourselves despite our perceived flaws and imperfections.
There is a beauty in vulnerability and a strength in softness. Only by loving ourselves can we ever be truly happy.
What one thing do you love most about yourself? Write it down and put the paper in your pocket. You should be your own best friend!
We live in a complex and changing world. The people around us are different in so many ways. Even the Sixty and Me community has members from over 150 different countries. We speak different languages and have different beliefs, but, we are tied together by kindness.
Does it every feel to you like the world promotes “us vs. them” conflicts instead of meaningful conversations? It certainly does to me. Some people seem to think that the only way to win an argument is minimize the value of others.
Kindness is a powerful antidote to narrow-minded thinking. Kindness requires understanding. You can’t be truly kind to someone unless you try to understand their unique perspective. In fact, kindness without understanding can lead to unintended consequences as we impose our concepts of “good” on others.
Do your best, every day, to be warm and caring. Listen. Embrace and celebrate the differences that you have with other people. The world would be a boring place if we were all the same!
Acceptance is not the same as defeat. Living in the moment does not require us to give up our desires or our need to achieve.
We often see the present as a trap that holds us from our dreams. In reality, the present is a golden thread that connects us to our dreams. It is the point at which our past and future meet.
Kindness starts in the moment. It is easy to imagine ourselves being kind in the future. It is also possible to become trapped in the good (or bad) deeds of our past.
Learn to embrace the beauty of the moment. Take a deep breath and feel the goodness in your heart. You are a kind person. You are gentle and good. Do not allow the chaos around you to shake you from your path.
Kindness, to ourselves and others, starts with the statement, “This is my life. I own it. I take it for what it is, right now.” Today, let’s all make a commitment to kindness. Let’s embrace life after 60 and do our best to make the world a better place. Most of all, let’s be kind to ourselves. You deserve all the happiness this world has to offer!
Do you think that kindness is essential to happiness at any age? Why or why not? Has someone done something kind for you lately? What was it and how did it make you feel? Do you find it hard to be kind to yourself? Please join the conversation.