K is for Kindness
Updated: Jun 28, 2021
“I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.” William Penn
What is kindness?
“Kindness is the language which the dumb can speak, the deaf can hear & the blind can see.” Mark Twain
Kindness is not an act, it is a lifestyle. Kindness involves being empathetic and considerate towards all living things. It could be described as the conscious act of engaging with others in a positive way regardless of whether those individuals ‘deserve’ to be treated kindly.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted” Aesop
Acts of kindness should not be dictated by class or divided by the social structure of communities or by ‘worthiness’.
“If we all do one random act of kindness daily, we might just set the world in the right direction.” Martin Kornfield
Why is kindness important?
"Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate." Albert Schweitzer
Kindness starts with self- care and positive self-talk. Self-talk is the most powerful form of communication because it either empowers you or defeats you so it is important to choose our words wisely There’s only one person in the world you’ll always be with, and that’s yourself, therefore it is important to be kind and gentle with yourself before we can be kind to others.
“May your inner voice be the kindest voice you know”
If we practise kindness, it can bring about significant changes to both ourselves and the wider community.
“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” Barbara De Angelis
Every living being thrives on kindness. Every kind act not only has a positive influence on the recipient, but on the individual who has shown the kindness, regardless of whether the act is acknowledged. Kindness tends to bring about more kindness and leads to a positive gain for humanity. Kindness is required in society as it helps to build societies and decrease misunderstandings thereby creating an environment with fewer conflicts.
“We can’t heal the world today, but we can begin with a voice of compassion, a heart of love, an act of kindness.” Mary Davis
Kindness is the key to changing the perception of people towards each other and contributing to an empathetic world.
“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” Steve Maraboli
One single, sincere compliment has the power to make a difference to someone’s perception of themselves, their life and their view of the world. Taking the time to stop and thank or praise someone (maybe just for something that they do quietly every day, or for making your day better) not only can make individuals feel good about their efforts, but it can inspire a “pay it forward” mentality and encourages others to follow your lead. Something as simple as a smile or hello at people you pass in the street can be a positive connection for both of you.
“Make it your mission to make someone else’s day better.” Rob Dial
Kindness is good for our physical and mental health. Witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin, which helps to lower blood pressure and improve heart-health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism, which can help us when feeling anxious or shy.
I was surprised to find that there is a mathematical formula for kindness (K= âˆž/âˆ‘ CH(R+D)/i=1). It was created to explain the components of kindness and involves Compassion Humility Dignity and Respect (See first link below for a related link and further explanations)
How can I show kindness?
“Of neighbourhoods, kindness is the most beautiful. How can the man be considered wise who when he had the choice does not settle in kindness.” Confucius
Humans are constantly interacting with one another, whether it’s via technology or face to face. These interactions range from simple fleeting eye contact with a stranger to longer intense conversations. Too often, these interactions aren’t used as opportunities for connection and kindness.
“Build someone up. Put their insecurities to sleep. Remind them they are worthy. Tell them they are magical. Be the light in a too often dim world.” Anna Grace Taylor
Every person you meet is dealing with things that you cannot really comprehend even if you think you do as that person’s experience is unique to them. People put on masks to hide their vulnerability so it is often not easy to see that someone is hurting or suffering so it is important to always be kind regardless of how you perceive a situation.
“Kindness is the way of love,
Kindness is the way of peace.
Kindness is the way of the heart.
If we desire to see a new way in the worldwide
Kindness is the only way.”
“If you are helping someone and expecting something in return, you are a doing business transaction, not kindness”
There is a plethora of ways that we can show kindnesses individually, working together in local groups or as part of a wider unified worldwide force to make our world better place for everyone.
“Hearts that beat to the tune of kindness can change the rhythm of the world.”
C J Peterson
We all have opportunities for acts of kindness and to create positive change, but it is very easy to make excuses “I’m too busy”, “How much of a difference can I really make?”
“When we feel love and kindness towards others, .. it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.” Dalai Lama X1V
The following story is adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley (1907 – 1977) and reminds us how what may seem ‘nothing’ for us can be experienced as ‘something’ essential for someone else.
“Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.
Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
“Be a lamp or a lifeboat or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal.” Rumi
Some questions to think about/or discuss below:
How do you show yourself kindness?
How do you show others kindness?
What act of kindness will you do today?
If you are interested in some more reading on the subject, here are a few links to get you started:
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” Amelia Earhart