We often look down at kindness. Kindness is seen as a sort of a weakness. We equalize kindness with the lack of authority. Have you ever been thinking if kindness could be a solution to some of your problems? Could it be a solution to end some of the suffering that is happening right now?
Do you see yourself as a kind person? Do you think you can improve on that given domain? If you answered, ’Yes!’, you must stop thinking for a minute. Kindness is not necessarily something you want to improve on. You should not see it is an outcome-based value you want to achieve after entering a competition.
Kindness is all about a mentality shift. That means you allow your internal positive energy to spread to other people. It is a virus in the positive sense.
This post is meant to guide you to rediscover that kindness. You have always had this positive energy. It is your job to look inwards again and to find the positive message you want to share. You have never really been lost. You just have to focus on rebuilding your fundamentals.
Why this post?
Everybody has noticed that the last couple of weeks, there is lot a that is happening in this world. It almost feels like the world has changed. I do not agree with that statement. I think the world has always been this way. This change feels now more apparent because there are so many things happening around us and our emotions have been rising high. Everything that is happening in this world today, is because people have so much anxiety and anger stored in their psyche. They freely express their frustrations about the world of today. I really like that people are willing to alter their world vision. I am amazed to see how people fight for their rights and for justice.
In this current changing climate I thought to myself, ”How I could contribute to the discussion?” I have a voice like everybody else and I do not want to let it go to waste and remain silent. There was a personal need to talk about this current subject but I wanted to do it on my own unique way.
I am not educated enough to really talk about the history of discrimination and racism but I am not so foolish to ignore it. My goal with this article was to provide people with a guide or a framework on how to allow more kindness in their lives. Anger can be a great emotion to truly express what you are feeling. Anger can be great to get you moving but ultimately it is kindness that holds us all together. Kindness is the antidote to hate. With kindness, we can collaborate, become stronger, and become more united.
The meaning of kindness
What does kindness actually mean? If you have been an avid reader of my previous posts, you know I like to look at what language teaches us about a certain word. We communicate through language which means the best way to truly understand a word is by looking at its meaning expressed in the dictionary.
kindness: noun [ C/U ]
the quality of being generous, helpful, and caring about other people, or an act showing this quality;
Kindness is a quality that lives deep in us. It is rooted in us as evolved human beings. It helps us to be generous. Generosity can be expressed as the willingness to give or help, usually more than normal or expected. We foster the deep need of helping others or ourselves. Caring means that we provide security and emotional support to the people around us.
You may or may not know this but security or relatedness is one of the essential features that drives our motivation (self-determination theory). Motivation is what we need to represent the change we want to see in this world.
Kindness is an act of showing this quality day in and day out. Over time, it will feel effortless and it will feel like a part of your identity. You cannot become kind but you are already kind! You just have to allow yourself to show it and express it on a daily basis.
Why kindness is your new secret power?
There is some science supporting the evidence behind the expression of kindness.
This video teaches us a couple of things. Kindness is really the only thing in this world that doubles when you share it. That fact has been backed up by science. Studies have shown that if you perform one random act of kindness a day, it will not only reduce your own stress levels or anxiety but it will also transfer this positive energy to the other person. The neurotransmitter that is well known to produce good feelings is ’serotonin’. That is also commonly the neurotransmitter that is targeted when you suffer from a depression.
There will also be a higher release of ’oxytocin’, which reduces blood pressure and makes you and the other person feel more deeply connected and loving. That effect is even so strong that it can transfer to other people!
When other people see and feel your kindness, they will be more likely to be kind as well. One act of kindness can create a chain reaction that spreads over to other people. You can choose to be the person that helps to produce that chain reaction. ’Do not break the chain!
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
It will be so much easier to collaborate with other people if you have been kind to them. Kindness builds a deep level of trust. Kindness has the possibility to bring an entire team together. Great leaders have always been known for their kindness and compassion. People wanted to listen to them so they could share the same positive message.
Life is an experience you share with others through love and compassion.
Kindness will also help you to find your own true voice. Kindness will allow you to find the positive energy you need to be willing to look inwards and will make us feel good and loved. This positive feeling will encourage us to move forward. Willpower is so 90’s. It is all about kindness today. Willpower is the side-effect of being purpose-driven.
How to be more kind?
This post would have been very conceiving if I did not provide you with some practical guide delivered to you in a couple of steps. Do not look at these steps in a linear fashion. These steps are just ways or examples of how you can show the quality of being kind.
It still starts with you! You can have the best tools in the world but if you do not know how to use them, they are worthless. Do not neglect the tools on how to become a kind person but start to question first why and how you will be using these tools. Your plan needs to be in line with your goals in order to succeed. This also applies to kindness. You need to be kind to yourself first before you can be kind to others. Let us start with this first idea.
Be kind to yourself first
You cannot be kind to others if you cannot even be kind to yourself. You need to love the person that stands in front of the mirror and you need to appreciate the scars that made you the person you are today. Celebrate all the wins and losses. Be willing to forgive yourself if you have been too harsh to yourself.
I see so many people who talk negatively to themselves. They do not understand why that makes them feel so bad. I always ask them the following question, “Would you also be saying these mean words to a true friend?” They confess that they would not do that because it would hurt the other person they love. If you love yourself, you do not want to hurt yourself.
You can not achieve greatness if you do not believe that you are worth it!
Discover your own positive energy
You will discover your purpose and vision when you become kind and forgiving to yourself. We have all this drive to become a better person. Only a few of us really want to put into the effort to truly understand what this drive really is.
You need to be kind to yourself in such way that you care about this purpose. You do not want to let yourself down and live a life of regret because you have not been following your dreams. Being kind to yourself means you need to be able to put yourself first. This can feel egocentric but it is far from egocentric behavior. If you follow your own vision, you will have a real story to share. You will have a lot of positive energy you can give to others. Being kind to yourself leads to being kind to others.
Care about somebody else’s opinion
We tend to be really protective about our own opinion. It is like our whole life depends on our own ideas. Your ideas are most likely just as flawed as the ideas of other people. You could be more intelligent but that does not necessarily make you smart.
You can be smart though if you choose to deeply care about the opinion of somebody else. It is not about just listening and nodding your head. It goes about moving yourself into the perspective of somebody else. You can not look into the mind of somebody else. The only way you can really get to know someone is by studying how he expresses himself. It takes time and dedication to truly try to understand the behavior of someone else. If you want to have a good discussion you should at least try to understand from which place that person is coming.
What if he is coming from a bad place?
Offer help to a friend or stranger
If a friend is coming from a bad place, you should offer to help him. After you have taken the time to truly understand, you can work out how to help him. Do not try to skip the previous step and offer a shallow form of help if you want to foster a deep relationship.
Of course, the help that you offer can be small. Like I said before, you should not see this as a linear list. You can already offer help to others, regardless if you have been kind to yourself first. I recommend to follow the previous steps though if you want to maximize your kind gestures.
A smile can sometimes be enough
I may have confused you with this step. This step seems so small and futile in the large scheme of things. The contrary is true. A smile can sometimes be the only thing another person really needs. A smile sometimes just gives this positive affirmation that everything will be fine in the end.
Have you ever done a walk and tried to smile back to all the people you have met. You would be amazed by the positive reactions you achieve. When I walk around with a smile on my face, it does not only make me feel better but it also makes other people feel more positive.
Nonverbal language is so strong in transferring emotions. You can say the most beautiful words in this entire world but if you say it with a smirk on your face, nobody will believe it. Sell your positivity while being positive. Nobody ever got fined for smiling too much.
See it small: small acts of kindness
The secret to real kindness lies in these small acts of kindness. We think we need to send great and big gifts to be loved and appreciated. This could not be any further away from the truth. You can not buy your love. You can only show love. These small acts are the easiest and most effective way to practice kindness. I can give you thousand of examples. These are my most favorite acts of kindness. My personal best:
- Holding the door open
- Start a random talk with a stranger
- Answer your social media comments
- Give a hug
- Give up a seat for an older person
- Holding someone’s hand to assure that everything is going to be alright
- Offer a drink
- Donate to a good cause
You can add some extra things that I have forgotten on this list. There are literally limitless amount of ways to help someone without thinking BIG.
Give without expecting anything in return This is a part of the definition of kindness. You destroy the entire purpose of kindness if you expect something back. If we expect something back, it is purely transactional. That is no problem. That is how our economy functions. Kindness though, is different.
Kindness is the act of giving or offering help without the thought that it needs to be compensated. You are kind because of love. Kindness is an investment of humanity. The return on this investment will be unconditional love.
How many times do we really take the time to listen? How many times do we get distracted with our own thoughts and opinions passing by while we are having a conversation? We have forgotten the art of really listening to the story of someone else.
We all want techniques to improve our story-telling so people will listen to us. What if we turned this around? From now on, you are going take the time to truly listen to other people. You need to feel and hear their emotions in the messages they are telling and you need to foster the need of trying to understand their suffering and pain. You need to listen to the person behind the words.
When people really listen to me, they hear a scared woman who is still in deep discovery of her personal values. People who have been following me, have quickly discovered that. They discovered that because they have taken the time to really listen.
What is holding you back to listen? Is it because of your need to be heard? Is it because of your lack of patience or maybe it is because of your ego that wants to speak all the time?
Respect that every person’s suffering is unique
I deeply respect every human being on this planet.
I have never truly considered the suffering of being born with a different skin color. It is not understandable to me how it would feel to live a life without this white supremacy. I respect the fact that the suffering that comes along with discrimination and racism is real! It is plain stupid to neglect the suffering of somebody else just because you can not relate to it. It is even more stupid to compare your own suffering to the suffering of somebody else.
I have had the ’luck’ that my suffering was a personal or a mental construct. The problem with discrimination is that it is a social and cultural construct. It is a suffering that has so much layers and it is so difficult to completely unwrap.
You should understand that you can never feel or experience the pain of somebody else. You can be compassionate and offer kindness in return. It is all a matter of choice.
Never look down on a person. We all matter!
Be the person that always looks up to people. Everybody has its qualities where you can learn from. It should be your full-time job to document these qualities and make others more aware of them. You can choose to make people feel bad or you can choose to help them to show their qualities to the world.
We all deserve this spot on the planet. We all deserve to be heard. Let us take our responsibility to showcase our own qualities and to help others with showcasing theirs.
I am sorry if this blog post felt a bit too long and wordy. There was a need to express my thoughts about kindness in a very expansive way. I though it was appropriate to make this post a bit longer than usual considering the current situation.
Kindness is the superpower so many people do not realize they have. You are born on this planet as a person who wants to send and feel love. The older we become, the more we become attached to the persona we have created and the more we care about our ego. Kindness is our natural state we should return to. Start with being kind to yourself. Then transfer that kindness to the world.
Some closing thoughts
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