The Kindness Impulse

It was so easy to snap at my father that night.

We had just finished a big dinner. He said something about politics that I didn’t like. I shot out like a cannon at him. No thinking, no effort. Just a big boom of righteous indignation.

And it was so easy to do because I’d done it before. I’d spent years making that snapping impulse good and strong. Yet never once had it left me, the moment, or some greater purpose better off.

A few days later, I was washing dishes. And I had the idea to text a friend to let her know I loved her. No, I thought, your hands are soapy. It’s not that important. Do it later.

In plain English: it was too much effort.

And my mind began working over that. The snapping impulse was primed and ready; the kindness impulse was a little harder to reach. Is that how you want the scales to be set?

I dried my hands. I texted my love to that friend. I went back to the dishes. And I felt softer, more connected.

Okay, I thought, that’s one step towards strengthening the kindness impulse. Keep on taking those.

So if I feel a surge of love, I’ve resolved to act on it. Immediately. Speak it. Text, call, write it.

And each time I think it’s too much effort, I tell myself that all I’m doing is making that kindness impulse good and strong. So it requires no thinking, no effort. But just shoots out like a cannon. 

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