The Power of Kindness
I know, it sounds cliche. I'm trying to think of other ways to explain this idea, though. Other words or metaphors, perhaps.
I was at the store today - it was one of the less trendy stores that focuses more on community than prices. It's not pretentious, and I like that.
I was veering my cart into the water aisle and a guy stocking the shelves offered to move his giant cart of supplies. I shook my head and let him know that I could easily maneuver around him.
Somehow, this started a conversation. We briefly talked about recent cultural event and he complimented me on my belt buckle. He helped me figure out the best price and then loaded up my cart with the heavy-ish packs of water that I wanted.
I thanked him and his response was, "Well, you're nice!" I have confidence this guy would have been nice to me anyway, but showing him that I wanted to be nice to him and treat him with kindness brought him into my sphere of influence.
And my sphere of influence is not something I would use to manipulate others. I use it to bring others in, and to become closer to them too. Not closer like I need to know them or control them, but more like to share the same experience of existence. With this, we can share emotions, energies, and the beauty of life. We can find validation and victory in our suffering.
I just read this great article about employee burnout: Employee Burnout: The Biggest Myth
Not only did it focus on manager behavior as a key to mitigating employee burnout, but it also pointed out that employee burnout circles back to cause manager burnout.
This is taking me back to my original point - kindness is the panacea for burnout. It's healing and it unites people. We can do it because it eventually comes back to be good for us, but the true reward comes in seeing how it changes other people. It helps bring us above our own wants and needs, which is also healing and actualizing. We can focus on more than ourselves and become more than who we are today - growing to become better with each passing moment and opportunity.