Kindness is beneficial…
We have often heard the encouragement given to be kind and compassionate to others. But there has not been much said in terms of the benefits derived from such an altruistic act. Research has shown that people who are kind and compassionate experience clear benefits to their wellbeing and happiness. They may even live longer. Kindness can also help reduce stress and improve our emotional wellbeing.
What do we mean by “kindness”
Kindness is choosing to do something that helps others or yourself, motivated by genuine warm feelings. Kindness, or doing good, often means putting other people’s needs before our own. It could be by giving up our seat on a bus to someone who might need it more, or offering to make a cup of tea for someone at work who may not be well or had breakfast.
The sad reality is, many persons foresee kindness as a sign of weakness, that you are being a push over and possibly even stupid, but the real fact is, being kind often requires courage and strength especially in cases where the recipient may be deemed undeserving based on their own behavior. Kindness is an interpersonal skill that we must all strive to master as human beings.
We have heard about survival of the fittest and Darwin’s theory. It is believed that survival of the fittest is associated with selfishness, meaning that in order for someone to survive (a basic instinct); it means that individual must be committed to look out for his or her self. But Darwin, who studied human evolution, actually didn’t see mankind as being biologically competitive and self-interested. Darwin believed that we are a profoundly social and caring species. He argued that sympathy and caring for others is instinctual. The desire to help others should be embedded within each individual.
One way to be kind is to open your eyes and be active when you see people in need. Do you notice when people could use a helping hand? A sense of community is created when people are kind to those who need help.
Opening your eyes means noticing when others are suffering. A kind word, a smile, opening a door, or helping to carry a heavy load can all be acts of kindness. Celebrating someone you love, giving honest compliments, sending an email thanking someone, telling someone how s/he is special to you, helping an elderly neighbor with yard work or food, taking a photo of someone and sending it to the person, sharing homemade food, refusing to gossip, and donating old clothing and things you don’t need are all ideas about how to practice kindness.
Kindness is also about telling the truth in a gentle way when doing so is helpful to the other person. Receiving accurate feedback in a loving and caring way is an important part of a trusted relationship. The courage to give and receive truthful feedback is a key component of growth and flexible thinking.
Kindness includes being kind to yourself. Do you treat yourself kindly? Do you speak gently and kindly to yourself and take good care of yourself? There are many ways to be kind and many opportunities to practice.
So as we think about all that is going on around us, let us not shy away from the opportunity to facilitate the change in our society we so badly crave and often pass over to someone else.
Here are a few more suggestions to help you get started with some random acts of kindness:
- Volunteer for a local community Organisation?
- Offer your expertise and support as a mentor for those who are struggling?
- Check on the elderly in your community who may be isolated?or?alone
- See if there’s anything you can do?to support your children’s school or nursery – offer to a less fortunate child.?
- Get involved in activities to help the less fortunate??
- Call a friend that you haven’t spoken to for a while?
- Tell?a family member how much you love and appreciate them?
Being kind is not about having a lot or doing expensive things. It is also not about public recognition. I encourage each and every reader to make the decision to do some random acts of kindness. I assure you; the kindness you extend to others will come back to you.