I’ve taken a break from my normal reading of personal development books, to do a cross-country book club with a few of my girlfriends. We had been discussing a few of the books we have been reading, and I realized there wasn’t a bit of fiction in the mix. Although I enjoy fiction, and getting swept away in a story, I always gravitate toward books that revolve around some sort of psychology, especially since I embarked on my happiness journey. We are reading Wonder, by RJ Palacio; and although I have already seen the movie (which was incredible), I jumped at the opportunity to read a book with my girlfriends, where we could then Skype with wine and chat. And yet, what I didn’t realize, was even though I was reading to take a break from books that revolve around my happiness project, that is exactly what I found in this book.
One of my favorite quotes, from one of my favorite authors, is featured in this book, and it hit me exactly when I needed it. “When given the choice between being right or being kind; choose kind.” In the book Dr. Wayne Dyer’s quote is discussed with the characters and becomes a poignant theme throughout the entire book. We all make mistakes, we misstep, and yet if begin to act in kindness we can move forward towards a place of happiness and growth. Even when we haven’t acted from a place of kindness, it is never too late; it is never too late to change and to be kind. In Wonder, the characters experience the growing pains which accompany change, there are times when each character stumbles and despite these stumblings, it is acts of kindness which bring them together, just as it is acts of kindness that can bring us all together.
I’m not sure if I originally heard Dr. Wayne Dyer say this in a podcast, or one of his books or essays, but I went back through the notes I keep from all my readings and scribbled in a corner was his quote; I’m sure in his infinite wisdom he had said this more than once. I did some digging and found the quote in a short essay he wrote about “Letting Go and Letting God.” Throughout this short writing, he discusses letting go of ego, and how our insistence on being right, is detrimental to building relationships and fostering love. He writes when we are able to put our egos aside and let go of the attachment of being right, we are able to move toward a life of contentment. We are no longer burdened by our drive to fulfill the desire of our ego, but we can fulfill the desires of our heart, and stay close to our true intention. We can choose to live kindly or we can choose to allow our ego to control our actions and emotions.
I’ve found that much of the positive psychology movement has a basis in the world of addiction therapy. “Let go and let God,” is a major theme throughout the spiritually based 12-step recovery programs. This concept is really about letting go of the things you cannot change, and accepting those you can and cannot control. In addiction recovery, this may mean accepting addiction is part of who you are, and also finding ways to move forward. I cannot control an outcome, therefore I must learn to focus on what is within my ability to control. This also applies throughout daily life, not just addiction. For example. I cannot control other peoples actions, and yet I can control my reactions to them. If others do not act kindly, or act from a place of ugliness, this is beyond my control. However, I can accept this behavior has occurred, and control my response. Control your thoughts and emotions, control your life. I can choose to stay close to intention and control my actions and reactions; I choose to live kindly and so can you. Today, as you wake, venture out into the world, and interact with those around you, ask yourself if you are being driven by your ego and desire to be right, or if acting from a place of kindness would be more effective in building relationships and increasing your happiness; You will never regret being kind.
“When given the choice between being right or being kind; Choose Kind” – Dr. Wayne Dryer