Monthly Archives: November 2015

Change Perspective and Find Kindness

Day 18: Change Perspective and Find Kindness

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses .” – Abraham Lincoln

I love the above quote! It poetically and succinctly explains what I am referring to when it comes to having and changing our perspective. Sometimes we can turn around an entire day or situation by simply changing our perspective. A change in perspective can also be learned when we make mistakes or hurt others. 

  1. Kindness to Self:

    Changing our perspective can create a major shift that can lead to self-enlightenment. It’s that aha moment when the light bulb goes off and you are wondering how you didn’t see this before, because now it seems so obvious. By purposely trying to change our perspective about a challenging or difficult situation, we will open ourselves to greater understanding.

  2. Kindness to Others:

    Whenever I find myself needing to defend or justify my point of view, it is a red flag for me to take a moment and consider the other person’s point of view. It may or may not change how I see things, but it will bring about understanding, empathy and ultimately kindness.

  3. Kindness to Strangers:

    How we look at and interpret things, people and situations is usually deeply rooted and takes practice to change. Sometimes we just need to tilt our head slightly and try to see things differently. If we can do this often, we will be much more open, have a greater capacity to empathize and enjoy the gifts of connection.

  4. Kindness to Our Planet:

    Can we challenge ourselves to change our perspective and see things from a future where our children’s children live on a planet that will provide as we have known? If we can picture it, can we then create that place through hard work and dedication? I believe we can!

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com/CarienVanHest

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From Forgiveness to Kindness

Day 17: From Forgiveness to Kindness

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” – Paul Boese

From forgiveness to kindness, or maybe it’s the other way around. I’m not entirely sure. Forgiveness is sometimes difficult and other times easy, depending on the transgression. Either way, forgiveness is a choice we get to make to leave behind the pain and to embrace the gifts. 

  1. Kindness to Self:

    Forgiving ourselves is probably the most difficult, especially when we feel like we have failed ourselves or others.  However, self forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves and is a very important step to healing. Be gentle with yourself and remember your past experiences have brought you here. Right where you are suppose to be.

  2. Kindness to Others:

    Asking for forgiveness and making amends can be both difficult and embarrassing. However, if we are truly sorry and make our amends sincerely, there is nothing more to do, other than let go. We have no control over the other person or the outcome, only how we make our amends.

  3. Kindness to Strangers:

    When thinking about forgiveness and strangers, I am reminded of the famous quote by Martin Luther King Jr.: “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.” This is so true, we must be accepting and forgiving of all people, and with that type of attitude, kindness will surely be felt.

  4. Kindness to Our Planet:

    Forgiving ourselves for not always being the best stewards of our planet, but choosing to make amends by changing one “bad” habit regarding the care of our planet, will suffice.

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com/SallyDell

Surrender to Kindness

Day 16: Surrender to Kindness

“Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.” – Sonia Ricotti

“Let go and let God.””Let go of the illusion of control.” “Just let go.””Surrender.” All easier said than done. We all seem to want to control, but the truth is we have no control over anything or anyone, other than ourselves. The illusion of control is a hard lesson for most of us. Often, we justify control as love, worry and protection. If we are going to find our potential and our authentic self then we need to learn to surrender and let go. When we surrender to what is and stop doing and start being, we will be able to see clearly and live from an authentic and kind place.

  1. Kindness to Self:

    We are in control of what we think, feel and do. Those are the only things we are in control of and everything else in beyond our reach. Choose to surrender to the moment and learn through observation how and when you try to control.

  2. Kindness to Others:

    One of the kindest things we can do for others, is to let them be who they are. If we truly love someone we must set them free and let them be.

  3. Kindness to Strangers:

    Letting go and accepting people for who they are, where they come from and living life from a place of curiosity rather than judgement is a gift of kindness to both ourselves and the strangers we encounter.

  4. Kindness to Our Planet:

    How does one surrender and let go when it comes to being kind to our planet? I think we can leave special areas the way we find them. We can learn what plants are indigenous to our local area and replant those types of plants in order to promote a natural habitat for us, animals, insects and mother nature.

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com/StacyBraswell

From Chaos to Kindness

Day 15: From Chaos to Kindness

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Usually my family holidays are both fun and chaotic. I’m not a fan of chaos and I’m not a fan of teasing once it crosses a line. My family likes to tease, “ball bust” and poke until someone gets their feelings hurt. What starts out in “fun,”usually escalates into feelings being hurt, then to an argument and finally a full out mud slinging fight of insults. This year, instead of participating and then later feeling bad, I very gently reminded everyone to speak kindly. I also asked often, “Is that really necessary”? Those two statements, became my mantra for the day.  What could have turned ugly, quickly dissipated and everyone ended up having the best Thanksgiving we’ve had in years. Even the kids got along. I lived the quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” and a miracle happened. By living in kindness, and by gently encouraging those around me to do the same, we had a beautifully kind Thanksgiving where everyone felt, loved, safe and grateful for being together. Much better than the usual fun and thrilling, yet potentially hurtful and chaotic family gathering. 

  1. Kindness to Self:

    I was kind to myself this year by assigning everyone a dish to bring, instead of trying to do everything myself. Everyone was happy to contribute and pitch in. The day was joyful rather than exhausting.

  2. Kindness to Others:

    This year I chose to live in gratitude and in kindness. I was able to spend quality time with everyone and it was truly special.

  3. Kindness to Strangers:

    I didn’t quite have the chance to interact with any strangers yesterday, but I had the chance to be open and grateful for all the different personalities that came to our home. Isn’t that what kindness to strangers is all about, being kind, open and accepting of our differences?

  4. Kindness to Our Planet:

    Without outing anyone in my family, I took over doing the dishes so that I could control the amount of water being used. We are in a drought people!

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com/GrazynaSuchecka

Gratitude Creates Kindness

Day 14: Gratitude Creates Kindness

“The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see.” – Dr. Robert Holden

Happy Thanksgiving! Today is the day that most people gather around the family table, share a meal and give thanks for the people and blessings in their lives. Let’s make everyday a day to reflect and be grateful for the gifts we have. Living in kindness is a breeze if we come from a place of gratitude, because with gratitude comes joy, and with joy comes kindness. 

  1. Kindness to Self:

    “Gratitude is one of the most medicinal emotions we can feel. It elevates us and fills us with joy.” -Sara Avant Stover

  2. Kindness to Others:

    “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

  3. Kindness to Strangers:

    “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

  4. Kindness to Our Planet:

    “For one minute walk outside, stand there, in silence, look up at the sky, and contemplate how amazing life is.” -Unknown

Thank you for following me in my journey to find, create and live kindness. I am blessed and full of gratitude!

With Kindness & Gratitude,

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com/ScottWilkinson

Girls, Kindness & The Power of Words

Day 13: Girls, Kindness & The Power of Words

“Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” – G. D. Anderson

Today, while at the gym, I overheard a man speaking to his trainer. The man said, “I’m totally acting like a girl”. He was referring to not practicing his workouts on his own. I wanted so badly to interrupt and ask him what he meant. Acting like a girl.  What does that mean anyway? Ask him if he had kids and specifically whether he had a daughter.  Ask him if he realized what kind of message he was sending out to the world by speaking that way. I had to stop myself from saying something.

Unfortunately, this was not the first time I’ve overheard men and dads speaking this way about women.  Whether that man had sons or daughters doesn’t really matter, because those kind of statements need to change in our world, especially boy world. We empower our girls and young women to believe they can do anything, but what are we teaching our boys about girls and women? Are the adult men in your life teaching your children that it’s somehow bad or weak to be like a girl, or just a girl? Let’s change the way we speak about women and girls. Words are powerful, be aware of what and how you say things.

  1. Kindness to Self:

    Words have the power to hurt or to heal, to encourage or discourage and to create. Be aware of the words you say to yourself. Are they kind, loving, tender, encouraging, empowering and understanding? Take a few minutes everyday to slow down and check in with your inner-self and make sure the communication is loving and kind.

  2. Kindness to Others:

    I believe that words are the most powerful form of communication, whether spoken or written. Slow down and really think about the impact of your words. Words can either encourage, compliment and be loving or they can discourage, judge or be hateful. Choose to be the kind of person that uses words to inspire and spread kindness.

  3. Kindness to Strangers:

    Always choose to use words that are kind, respectful and accepting of all types of people. We are all different. Some of us are girls, some of us are mentally challenged, some of us are Muslim, some of us are homosexual, but we are all human beings and we all deserve the same amount of respect. No one is better than the other, we just have different strengths and gifts. Choose to see the gifts rather than fearing the differences.

  4. Kindness to Our Planet:

    Use the power of communication, especially words, written and spoken, to promote a healthy planet.

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com/CrissyPauley

Listening is Kindness

Day 12: Listening is Kindness

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” -Bryant H. McGill

Listening with an open heart and mind is one of the kindest things we can do for ourselves and others.  To be fully present with ourselves or with another person takes awareness, patience, and practice. When we are able to give our full attention to listening rather than speaking and offering advice, we will learn, understand and grow tremendously as human beings.

  1. Kindness to Self:

    Listening to yourself, listening to your gut or listening to your intuition are all the same. I love the following quote: “Your intuition is a muscle. To develop it, you must listen.” I can’t tell you how many times I have ignored my intuition and not listened to what I needed, but I can tell you that each time I did not listen I regretted it. Listening to our needs does take practice and discipline, but I do believe it is the kindest thing we can do.

  2. Kindness to Others:

    Fully listening to our children, spouse, friends and loved ones is a priceless gift. However, it is not always the easiest thing to do.  I think in today’s world people have to try much harder to get our full attention.  We now have to compete with the ever present smart phone. To give someone our complete attention when they speak is the truest form of kindness.

  3. Kindness to Strangers:

    Lately I have been practicing giving my full attention to strangers and it is amazing to see the positive reactions. I admittedly used to be very distracted and rarely gave the store clerk, waiter, car attendant or any stranger, my full attention when engaging with them. Now I make it a priority to listen fully. The interactions I have are so much more meaningful and it provides a sense of contentedness that is missing in our busy world.

  4. Kindness to Our Planet:

    Listening to the experts on climate change and really observing the changes that are taking place is the first step to making positive changes for our beloved home. Be the change you would like to see and continue to care for our planet.

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com/CherylEmpey

Kindness & The Confidant

Day 11: Kindness & The Confidant

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” -Unknown

A confidant is a close friend to whom secrets are confided or with whom private matters and problems are discussed. We all need to have at least one if not a few special friends that we can call when feeling down and sad. Someone we can share the ugly truths to and know without a doubt that she will not judge. She will believe in you when you no longer believe in yourself. She will fill you up when you are empty.  Be the surrogate inner voice when yours has gone dark, mean and fearful. The friend that will tell you that you are beautiful inside and out, that you are awesome and capable of anything.

Maybe this person is an old friend, your mother, a grandparent, a sponsor or even a paid listener. Whomever it is, it is vital that we have these people in our lives. They are the people that pick us up, dust us off and give us a great big hug. These people are our supporters and cheerleaders.

  1. Kindness to Self:

    Sometimes we find ourselves in a dark place and we just cannot seem to find that inner voice that will guide us. It is at these times that we can reach out to our confidant, our friend, our cheerleader and lean on her. Let her be that kind voice, the warm hug and the tenderness that we need.

  2. Kindness to Others:

    Being a confidant and trustworthy friend is a priceless gift that we can both enjoy as the receiver and the giver. Remember to always treat your friends and loved ones the way you would like to be treated: with kindness, understanding, tenderness and acceptance.

  3. Kindness to Strangers:

    So how can we practice being a confidant when it comes to strangers? Well one way is to always give people the benefit of the doubt. I recently was at a party and was warned by an acquaintance to stay away from a certain person because they were “bad news.” Instead of listening to that person, I decided to engage with an open heart and found the person to be quite lovely. The point is, we always have the choice to be open and accepting, instead of closed and suspicious.  Treat people with kindness and usually it comes back.

  4. Kindness to Our Planet:

    How can we be a confidant when it comes to our planet? We can decide to be a person who will research, discuss and commit to being part of the solution when it comes to conservation and care of our planet.

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com/BobbiDombrowski

Kindness & The Inner Critic

Day 10: Kindness & The Inner Critic

“Become aware of the negative self-talk and listen in with curiosity and compassion instead of guilt and shame.” – Elise Museles

The inner critic, that person inside of you that says you are doing it wrong, that’s not fast enough, you’re not good enough, you can’t do that. Or the even uglier twin, the inner critic turned out. The part of you that looks out at others to judge them so that you do not feel the pain the inner critic causes. How do we identify the inner critic and quell those messages? How do we stop gossiping and own that by judging others we are really deflecting our inner critic? The answer is through kindness. Of course that kindness, tenderness, understanding and patience must first come from within. So how do we do it? We process our feelings, with an open heart, with tenderness, gentleness and understanding. The inner critic cannot survive kindness, gentleness, tenderness and understanding. It just cannot.

  1. Kindness to Self:

    Quelling the inner critic is not easy, in fact it can be extremely challenging. The inner critic is very sly and sneaky and could be so deeply embedded that we don’t even consciously hear it. The first step is to become aware of the messages inside, then with tenderness and patience, try to process those thoughts and feelings until you reach a place of understanding.  This will take practice to master, but when you do become a master of your inner voice, the kindness will exude.

  2. Kindness to Others:

    Here’s another quote to think about: “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice,” Peggy O’Mara. This is a great reminder of how we need to be aware of our inner self-talk, so that we can also be aware of what comes out of our mouths in the form of criticism, judgement, or gossip. Especially gossip. Gossip can be sneaky as well. It can hide under the guise of concern. Be aware and master your inner voice, so that yo may always trust that the voice that comes out is kind.

  3. Kindness to Strangers:

    We have opportunities everyday to be kind in the way we speak to, look at and carry ourselves among strangers. We always have the chance to come into a new situation with openness, kindness and understanding.

  4. Kindness to Our Planet:

    I’m a little stumped on this one. However, studies have shown that plants grow healthier, and faster if shown attention, talk and care. Go ahead and be kind to the plants around you and watch them grow in abundance. Just don’t forget to water them too!

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com/JessHall

Kindness & Religion

Day 9: Kindness & Religion

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness” – Daili Lama

God, a higher power, Allah, Shiva, Jesus Christ…to me it matters not. I’m with the Daili Lama on this one: My religion is kindness. I do meditate daily and when I do, I often find myself not in prayer exactly, but rather in conversation with God. My God is kind, understanding and quite funny. I have learned that I always receive exactly what I need and even what I ask for. However, I have also learned to be very specific in what I ask for.

I’m not suggesting that you ditch your religious beliefs, just that you allow room for kindness is your daily life. As we all know, religion can be twisted and used for atrocities, that is why I am completely aligned with the Daili Lama…let’s continue to find, create and live kindness so that we can spread it.

  1. Kindness to Self:

    How do I make kindness my religion or part of my “religious” journey? Meditation, reflection, praying to my God and learning how to love myself; flaws, quirks and all.

  2. Kindness to Others:

    We can share our thoughts, beliefs and practices with our children, family, friends and loved ones. My lovely friend often includes my family in her Jewish holidays, and we love every second of it. Not only are we sharing in their beliefs and traditions, but in loving kindness, acceptance and understanding of others’ beliefs.

  3. Kindness to Strangers:

    We can simply practice the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

  4. Kindness to Our Planet:

    Let’s apply the Golden Rule to our planet as well and treat it as it has treated us: with love and abundance. Be a shepherd for our planet.

Jennifer Palazzo

Photo Courtesy of FreeImages.com/grantyiu