Kindness is something we give freely, with no expectation or reward necessary. At the core of kindness is an underlying consideration for other people’s needs, where we can effortlessly step into the role of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
Consciously Aware of Kindness
Most of us are aware that practicing kindness is a wonderful way to boost our mood, self-worth, and flood our bodies with happy hormones. Research studies indicate that by being consciously aware of our kind acts helps illuminate our intentions, words, and actions in our stream of consciousness, thus raising our energy vibration. Not only do we experience a heightened sense of self-awareness, but the energy behind our act of kindness is also at a higher vibration.
‘Kindness is about “seeing with your heart.’ Angela C. Santomero, Radical Kindness: The Life-Changing Power of Giving and Receiving
The heart can see the emotions the eye may fail to recognise; this is what empathy is all about. Cognitive empathy, also known as perception taking, refers to our ability to understand and identify another person’s emotions. We can see their struggle. While it’s essential not to take on another person’s pain and suffering, cognitive empathy enables us to support another in their time of need. It helps to remember that we’ve all been in a time of need at some point in life. That need may have been for a friend to step in when we were subjected to the jibes of a bully. Or it may have been a simple act of kindness from a total stranger as they helped us change a flat tyre in the pouring rain. Acts of kindness help give us the strength to cope with situations that may have otherwise seemed impossible.
Learning To Be Kind
‘We should remind ourselves and our kids that kindness is hard sometimes… It doesn’t always flow out of you naturally—but that doesn’t mean that you’re not kind.’ Carla Naumburg, PhD, How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids
Being kind can sometimes prove challenging. For example, it can prove difficult to be generous towards a sibling who’s challenging us. It can be scary to stick up for a work colleague who is being mistreated. It can feel awkward to offer support to a neighbour who is being discriminated against. It can feel difficult knowing how best to act with a person who’s differently abled, either neurologically or physically.
We are human and may find ourselves so caught up in our own stresses that we handle situations in a way that doesn’t reflect our true nature. That doesn’t mean we’re not kind people. Sometimes it’s hard being friendly towards unfriendly people. Sometimes it’s hard being considerate towards inconsiderate people. Sometimes it’s hard finding nice things to say about not-so-nice people. Dr. Naumburg says ‘kindness is like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.’ ‘The more you practice saying kind things, the easier it’s going to be when it’s hard.’
Kindness Is Priceless
‘To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.’ Dr. Seuss
We may feel as though we don’t have what it takes to change the whole wide world, but one act of kindness may make such a difference to one person that it changes their entire world. A kind word may boost someone’s confidence. When we give someone our time, it shows we value them. Our acts of kindness may be as profound as to lift a weary heart or simply bring a smile to someone’s face. Either way, kindness is priceless. We can grow kindness in our hearts and give it out to everyone and watch the ripple effects as they pass it on.
Bountiful Blessings of Kindness
‘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
Practicing kindness is a real boost for our self-esteem; we know through science that practicing kindness leads to higher levels of positive emotions. In today’s consumer-focused world, we tend to think happiness is gained through what we have and are always looking for new ways to treat ourselves in order to feel good.
In a research study, people were encouraged to carry out acts of kindness towards others. The results showed that we’re likely to find happiness when we have the intention to support or help others, such as sharing, cooperating, donating, and volunteering. As we connect with others through kind deeds, we meet our basic psychological needs of relatedness and belonging. On a spiritual level, doing acts of kindness nourishes our soul as it helps shift our inner focus from ourselves to others.