I’m a bit stalled. Heartbroken by what I see in the world on a daily basis: cheating, lying, verbal assaults. I can get to feeling a bit helpless, off my game.
The Get Well America Tour was, is, my antidote to all of this. I move about the country in my little cocoon venturing out to satisfy my daily needs, sharing kindness along the way and when it feels right, encouraging kindness, first to oneself and then to others. These become my Road Angels along the way. In over 12,000 miles, 21 states and hundreds of people the message has always been well received, that is until Austin, TX. https://simplycoaching.com/austin-oh-austin…ou-confuse-me-so/
I had just finished my first Tex-Mex meal at a neighborhood place called Cheko’s and was heading back to Little Miss Red to look for some Little Libraries when I came upon Francisco. He was giving Little Miss Red the once over. I don’t think he was particularly thrilled with my initiating a conversation with him as he grumbled out his response from a somewhat contemptuous face.
In the hopes of cheering him up a bit, I told him the Get Well America Tour story. Darn if he wasn’t the first person to react without joy and compassion. It was incredible to me, but there we were. He lit a cigarette as he complained about the idea.
I said to him in a very matter of fact, yet gentle tone, “I know that you are not kind to yourself, so it must be difficult for you to be kind to others.”
“How do you know that?” he said to me, his eyes narrowing.
“Because you are smoking and that is not a kind thing to do to yourself.”
I could feel him brace himself for an onslaught of criticism, but I fooled him. His enraged eyes began to soften as I offered him empathy, “Smoking is a tough one. I used to smoke. Quitting was the hardest thing I have ever done. I literally had to go through an organized program.”
“Really?” he offered. His demeanor changed on the spot. His face now revealed a man who, like many of my Road Angels, needed to be heard and understood. He shared his frustrations at not being able to quit and how his family was always on him about it. We were able to discuss how he might increase his kindness to himself as he worked through his addiction. With increased self-kindness, he realized that it would be a lot easier to be kind to others. By now he had a great big smile on his face. Francisco definitely earned his new Road Angel status.
As I used to tell my coaching students, “ We all need to be heard and understood. Please stand shoulder to shoulder with your clients, so you can see what they see, hear what they say and feel what they feel. Never get ahead of them, calling them to catch up or stand behind them, pushing them to go.” It works not only in coaching, but in all our relationships. Give it a try; it is a very kind thing to do for yourself and others!
I may not be able to heal the world, but I can offer kindness to those I meet and ask them, as I am asking you now, to be kind, first to yourself, then to others.
And when the day is dark and dreary as it today in Lake Somerville, TX, writing about Francisco is a very kind thing for me to do for myself as it makes a stormy day a bit brighter and more hopeful. Here is to America Getting Well!!!!
Kindness: First to yourself and others!
What’s your kind of quotient today?