‘Kindness in words creates confidence, kindness in thinking creates profoundness, kindness in giving creates love.’Lao-Tzu
‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.’The Dalai Lama
Yea ok I thought that too… just the one day? Shouldn’t every day be a kindness day? But of course it’s not about that – it’s simply a day to celebrate kindness in society and anything that celebrates kindness in my opinion has to be worth doing.
I think it’s the most important quality a human being can have. I also believe we should use kindness as a benchmark by which we conduct ourselves, live our lives and go about our daily round. To use kindness as a measure of whether our behaviour is acceptable or appropriate. To ask ourselves ‘is that kind?’ would serve well as gauge as to the right thing to do or say to others and to ourselves.
When I think of the word kindness I think of softness, gentleness, empathy, thoughtfulness, consideration for others and that beauty of a word to describe someone; decent.
When people are battered by grief, illness or pain of any description they can be soothed by the kindness of others. In dark times I have also learned that to be kind to myself is comforting and calming, quietly easing a burden or sadness. It seems a shame that it is often only in this raw state, when we’re badly bruised and damaged, that we truly recognise the value of simple kindnesses.
When I think of friends and family I can categorise them (probably an unkind thing to do but hey) as ‘kind’, ‘sometimes kind’ and ‘rarely kind’ but I can’t think of anyone who has never performed an act of kindness. Those in the ‘rarely’ category, and I’m not judging, are I think probably the least happy with their lives and I think that’s significant.
There are those for whom an act of kindness needs to be recognised it is perhaps even the motivation for doing someone a kindness. There are those who are a little bit too keen to share that they have done a good deed, which I think indicates they are not really doing it for the right reasons. I don’t mean to discriminate here an act of kindness is great for whatever the reason but there’s something a bit tainted about needing more than the simple pleasure of doing someone a kindness. The burning martyrs doing things for others, not out of kindness but from a sense of duty or obligation framed by resentment are not welcome here.
Of course it is a bit disappointing if a thoughtful act goes unacknowledged but it shouldn’t be, especially when it is for a person in a dark place who could do with saving their energy to keep going rather than doling out thank-yous. We all want to be appreciated but the very root of kindness is to be selfless not to be doing it to build your own self-esteem.
Of course kindness is not to be shown exclusively for those in trouble. We all need it; and most of the time. Some of us don’t know how to receive it. It can feel awkward and we might bat it away or feel the need to ‘pay’ for it or feel that there are strings attached, that there is a an obligation to reciprocate.
Suffice to say I feel the anonymous act of kindness is, in my opinion, the purest form.
Starting from today my new mantra is to ask myself ‘is this kind?’ Is it kind to myself? Is it kind to others? Is it kind to the planet?
Thanks to web designer Tom Hosie for his act of kindness providing the header for this blog 🙂