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What does it mean to be kind?

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”

Henry James

I believe that lack of kindness is a root cause of most of our problems. We have a difficult time seeing past our own thoughts, expecting others to think-act-feel-see things the way we do. Not purposely of course, we’re just wired to be a bit selfish.

We focus on ourselves out of need. How does this impact me? How do I relate to this situation? What’s in it for me? Me/My/Mine. Living in a world of “I want this”… we focus on ourselves, by ourselves, with ourselves… to take care of ourselves. But sometimes something gets lost in translation along the way.

Kindness is the state of caring about other people’s well-being and taking action to help make other people’s lives better and happier. It’s the glue that allows us to connect with others and build meaningful relationships.

When someone does us a kindness, we feel connected and more willing to cooperate with them. When we do something kind for someone, we earn trust and respect, and we feel good about ourselves for being a kind person.

But WHY should we be kind? 

In the world at large, we have seen so much pain and strife. So many lives needlessly ended. So much heartbreak and loss. It’s a normal reaction to want to protect yourself from all of that horror and isolate into your own safe space. The problem is that when everyone does that, we lose vital connections with our community and even ourselves.

  • By being kinder to others you tend to be kinder towards yourself.

  • You get what you give.

  • It makes the world a better place. 

  • Kindness is a sign of strength.

  • Anger is toxic.

  • It feels good.

  • It’s the right thing to do.

Kindness isn’t a feeling… it’s an action.

Being kind is not about how you feel. It’s about what you do.

Showing kindness to someone you don’t like is especially difficult. But you just might surprise yourself when you are kind to them. ‘Taking the high road’ isn’t about the other person, it’s about us and who we choose to be in that moment. Practicing little things… like smiling and saying hello to a disagreeable neighbour, or NOT gossiping about a troubling co-worker, or choosing not to clapback at someone when you feel they’ve disrespected you are all ways you can be kind.

And, weird as it may seem, if you behave in a kind way, lending a hand, helping someone in need, then you’re more likely to feel better. You could even start to see someone’s good side or perhaps have empathy for why they act the way they do.

Kindness can also be the ABSENCE of action.

Being kind is just as much about what you don’t choose to do.

Not gossiping or not joining in with workplace bullies are pretty obvious ways to be kind.  Perhaps you don’t need to make that witty sarcastic comment that would hurt someone’s feelings.

If something seems like an unkind thing to do, stop and ask yourself if it’s necessary or kind. Can you find a different way forwards, instead? Or can you even just do nothing at all?

 

Kindness is a two way street. It’s a back and forth that strengthens our bond with friends, family, lovers, co-workers, and acquaintances.

The more we practice kindness, the easier it is. 

How do you practice kindness? Is it difficult for you sometimes? I think our world could be a better place if we focused more on kindness towards one another. I’d love to talk about this with you! Hit me up on Facebook  Twitter and Instagram.

Let’s talk about it!

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