Kindness. It is a simple premise really. Yet so many people do not practice it in their day to day life. Why is that? Why is it so hard to be kind?
the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
Is kindness something you just have (or don’t) or is it more like a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly to grow strong? I believe it is much more the later.
“All your words and actions define the world you want to live in.” ~ Thaddeus Golas
In order to be kind, we have to pay attention to what is happening around us. As we notice more things and help others, we get a glimpse of other ways of looking at things.
In society today being coarse, forcefully competitive, aggressive and even mean are seen as a form of, or a path to, success or popularity. Criticism and cynicism are taken as signs of powerful intelligence and success. Being kind is often seen as a weakness. Being kind does not mean you are a doormat however.
To me, being kind takes a lot of courage. This is especially true in today’s world. Consider this, what if being mean or unkind is a form of self-protection? What if a person who feels weak and fears exposure for that weakness will keep others at bay by treating them badly?
There is courage in being kind and open and generous in the face of a culture of cynicism and criticism. Society often casts suspicion on someone who offers uncompensated and unsolicited kindness. There are plenty of people who believe that others are only kind to them when they want something. There is a risk to being kind, as you can open yourself up to being hurt or taken advantage of.
We are as whole, social beings. We seek out interactions with each other. Being in a permanent state of mistrust and fear is exhausting, and doesn’t help us at all. How much better our life (and the lives of those around us) would be if we practiced kindness and empathy and generosity and humility?
When a person performs an act of kindness the brain produces dopamine, associated with positive thinking. It is believed that when a person does an act of kindness they feel good on a chemical level. Being kind is good for you!
When you are kind to others, the impact of your action doesn’t stop there. Kindness spreads. It softens hearts and makes people more aware of the needs of those around them.
I am a huge believer in the “Random Acts of Kindness” movement. Doing something kind and unexpected is a great idea. Those who then pay it forward to someone else spread kindness like ripples in a pond. Maybe we should use the word spontaneous instead of random. How about ‘randomly spontaneous’ or ‘spontaneously random’?
It is that moment when you see someone struggling to load groceries into their car and you stop to help, or you mow a neighbor’s lawn without being asked because they are sick, or you have a cup of tea and a chat with an elderly or lonely friend. All it takes is ACTING on the nice thoughts that I know pop into your head. It takes times, often it takes patience.
It takes you putting yourself out there and doing something!