The post “Cultivating kind actions — VIRTUES — #3 Helping others by expressing enthusiasm for their accomplishments” appears to develop a fine idea. However, although I do feel in agreement with that idea, it hasn’t been very often expressed in my repertoire of habits.
I do notice and respect my friends’ accomplishments, and at the expected times, such as when they have given a spoken creation or presented an art show, I do clap loud and long. However, afterward, while in conversations with these same people, they probably are hoping for more positive feedback than they get from me.
My more typical responsive habit is to do a seminar-like analysis, an intellectual critique rather than praise. I think of that as helping them to achieve what they are seeking to do, and perhaps on specifics that is a valid response, but the more fundamental human need is for appreciation.
Yesterday’s post, “Personal joy while doing kind deeds,” recommends a meditation procedure that can be done at any time and any place where you are free to think. I will go practice this for several minutes.
I stood in front of my wood stove in the warm heat and practiced several different scenes of encountering people I know and talking with them about what they are making. In the meditation, I then look at them and into their eyes often, but not staring, and ask appropriate questions, and make affirmations about what they have done. After doing that kind of thing for fifteen minutes, I walked over to where Debbie was sitting and asked her how her Sudoku game was going and commented that she must be getting really good at it. Then I told her about my experiment in being kind to other people by paying attention to them and offering mild praise.
Well, that resulted in a lot of laughter because my behavior had been a little unconventional, even for me. So it is probably better when doing these experiments not to tell people that you are doing it, because it will make them uncomfortable. The goal is to do these kind actions often enough that they become part of your unconscious personality.
Tomorrow I hope to be a kinder person, and everyone will appreciate that, even if it’s a bit unusual.