We need to be kind to ourselves, and we need to be kind to others. In stores, online, in zoom calls and on the streets. Kindness is caring about others and doing things to help make their lives better. It allows us to connect with other people and build meaningful relationships. As Henry James once said:
Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind
Being kind is not about how you feel. It’s about what you do. Showing kindness to someone you don’t like is really hard. But you just might surprise yourself when you take the high road. You have to remember that it’s not about the other person, it’s about us and who we choose to be in that moment. Nastiness is a form of self-protection: a person who feels weak and fears exposure will keep others at bay by treating them badly. From this perspective, people are only unpleasant when they’re unhappy with themselves, and take out their fears and frustrations on those around them. Kind people prefer to risk being open rather than turning inward and focusing solely on their own concerns.
Everyone is affected by an act of kindness. Kindness is contagious and you never know just how big of an impact a small gesture of kindness can have. Kindness improves our quality of life in the workplace as well as in the community. It brings people together. Doing good for others feels good. Showing kindness to others is just as rewarding as receiving it from someone else. So how do we become kinder? It’s a very good start to work on your empathy, modesty, patience, generosity, respect, loyalty and gratitude.
We will, from time to time, inevitably be let down, but holding others at arm’s length the whole time is infinitely more damaging and wearing. Kindness, by contrast, makes us embrace experience with open arms.
Being kind is just as much about what you don’t choose to do. Not gossiping or not joining in with workplace bullies are pretty obvious ways to be kind. Perhaps you don’t need to make that witty sarcastic comment that would hurt someone’s feelings. If something seems like an unkind thing to do, stop and ask yourself if it’s necessary or kind. Can you find a different way forwards, instead? Or can you even just do nothing at all? Kindness is a two-way street. It’s a back and forth that strengthens our bond with friends, family, lovers, co-workers, and acquaintances. The more we practice kindness, the easier it is.
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