The final two principles are 'Just for today do what you are meant to do' and 'just for today be kind to others'
Do what you are meant to do/work hard
This principle is about working on your personal and spiritual development. There are many opportunities every day to continue to work on ourselves, such as offering kindness to ourselves and others, working on our anger or worries, appreciating and being grateful for what we already have. Every day is also the chance to work on living in the present moment.
Do what we are meant to do can mean finding our purpose or true self. By working on yourself you can realise your full potential and make use of your talents and skills in ways that are most helpful for yourself and those around you. How many people are acting or doing things that are a result of others influence and persuasions? Does what you do and how you respond and act align with who you are and what you want to do? Are you leading a life that is authentic to you?
It takes courage and commitment to do what we are meant to do and to work hard on ourselves. This isn’t an easy task, but with patience and fortitude the result of such practice can lead to increased harmony, peace and happiness in your life.
Be kind to others
Offering others love, kindness and compassion can also have great benefit to both the recipient and yourself. Acts of kindness have been shown to lower our levels of stress and promote more positive feelings. In The Art of Happiness (2009) The Dalai Lama said,
There is an inextricable link between one's personal happiness and kindness, compassion and caring for others. And this is a two-way street: increased happiness leads to greater compassion, and increased compassion leads to greater happiness. In other words, studies have found not only that happier people tend to be more caring and more able to reach out and help others, but that by deliberately cultivating greater kindness and compassion, a person will experience increased happiness.
However being kind to others first has to start with ourselves. There is a proverb that says ‘you cannot pour from an empty cup’. How can you give to others if you have already given so much that you have end up depleted? We need to ensure that we are taking good care of ourselves and giving ourselves the same level of compassion and kindness that we give to those we are close to and love. Self care is not selfish but is in fact a gracious act, as others then benefit from your overflowing cup where you can then extend that kindness and love to others around you. There are many ways to be kind to others, don’t underestimate the power that even a small gesture can have on someone.
Being kind to others doesn’t mean that we have to put up with poor behaviour and treatment from others. It is still okay to set boundaries, to say no or to distance ourselves from those who are not good for us. Again this is about being kind to ourselves and doing what we need to do to take care of ourselves. Living a life with the quality of kindness not only makes the world a better place for others but also for ourselves too.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams (2016) The Book of Joy. Hutchinson, London.