To be kind is one of life´s virtues. It says a great deal about who we are as a person. It reflects how we respect and treat others and ourselves, and how we wish to be seen in the grand scheme of things.
What is Kindness?
Kindness is a virtue – it is a value that we have for how we want to live our lives – it is selfless in that it isn’t necessarily something we do to “get back” in return. The ethos of “paying it forward” often springs to mind. You do a kind thing for someone else and they, in turn, provide an act of kindness to others. The ethos of being self-less and thinking of others, saying kind things, doing kind things can really make a difference to how we live our lives. It can also make a huge difference to someone who receives your kindness – your thoughtfulness, your compliment. Would you want to live in a world with no kindness? Me neither.
The downside of kindness
Mmm. Really? Is there one? Are people who are kind weak, or foolish or gullible? Are they open to be taken advantage of? Consider this, if no one ever gave out an act of kindness for fear of being seen as any of these things, where would we be? Are we simply just too busy to be kind? No. Kindness is what parents want to instill a sense of in their children because it is so very, very important. To think of others, to be considerate, to say something nice is to be human. It´s the absence of cruelty, and is the presence of respect, consideration, appreciation and humanity.
Unkindness is toxic – it can hurt – hurt deeply – and wound for many years to come. It can invalidate our feelings of self-worth, cause self-doubt and limit us in so many ways. Kindness makes us feel valued, respected, appreciated, recognised and loved. Giving kindness freely isn’t “weak” – it shows how you are able to put others before yourself, let go of assumptions, fears and insecurities, and know what you truly stand for as a person.
Helping children to be kind
So all this may sound like a tall order for children. After all, it is not always that easy to share or forgive or see things from another persons’ view point – especially if we feel wronged, or are angry at them. Those who can do these things such as hold open a door, say please and thank you – and sorry – smile at others, be gracious in defeat – these are the life skills and virtues we, and future generations, need if we are continue to be human and generous towards ourselves and others.
Sometimes being kind can mean taking a risk – do it anyway.
Be kind to others:
- Smile and compliment genuinely.
- Give help but ask for nothing in return.
- Acknowledge all the good things we have and that there are those who are less fortunate than us – and do random acts of kindness to change that.
- Recognise their point of view even when it is different from yours.
- Say sorry first.
Be kind to yourself:
This is not just about a spa day or going to the gym regularly (although they are both on my list for 2018!) it´s about all the other stuff too:
- Recognise what you DO, rather than focus on what you feel you don’t.
- Face up to challenges and get in front of them – how many times do you see your kids hide from conflict or things they are scared of and wish they had the skills to cope?
- Recognise you need time out too – if you´re the well that keeps everyone else watered, who replenishes the well?
- Take time to see people and family who value you and who you value.
- Ignore what you feel others thing you should be or what you should wear etc – you´re you and that is ALWAYS good enough.
Being kind starts with you – so what will you do to be kind to yourself today?