Some while ago I remember starting to hear a thing. It was an odd thing. People would tell me, Oh I do like to say thank you or give praise, but it has to be for a special thing. Right, so you have the ability to help someone feel better about themselves and you actively choose not to?
Or they’d say, Oh it takes a lot of effort to praise someone. (They’d go on)… If we only ever praised people, then how do we manage poor performance or address bad behaviour? Hmm. So, you’d rather not praise someone because you don’t want to reduce the need to have to criticise or challenge them at a later date?
Or I hear, kindness comes more naturally to women because they’re the care givers of the human race. (They’d go on)… I can’t be or show kindness because that’s not what a man is meant to do. Oh dear. Such a state of immaturity that anyone who says these things hasn’t realised that kindness is a basic human trait.
Or I hear, Oh that person has only expressed what they did through social media so others can thank them publicly. (They’d go on)… surely an act of kindness is meant to be private? So, I hear this, and it’s a tough one to resolve. First, let’s not judge why others share what they do. Second, why does there need to be such skepticism or cynicism if others share in this way?
Here’s the thing. Kindness isn’t a commodity to be dealt with. You don’t expend your daily allowance by letting someone know they’ve done a good job. Or that they’ve been helpful. Or that they were an awesome human being. Or that they made someone smile. In nearly every situation you give praise or act kindly towards someone, they’ll stop in their tracks and get all embarrassed because someone recognised what they did.
We are in odd times. Kindness to others is seen and argued for like it’s something we have a right to. There are current world leaders who see kindness as weakness. There are harassers and attackers who prey on other people’s kindness.
Religion has taught us for a long time that being kind unto others is a just thing. It’s a holy act. It’s a societal benefit. It binds people together.
I remember after the riots in the UK several years ago. The day after, people got their broomsticks and bandied together to clean up their streets. Because that’s what happens when people experience kindness together, they find a way to be together. Kindness lifts people and offers them such hope.
If you’re of the ilk of person that thinks you can only be kind in moderation, then that’s a rough and tough place to operate from. Where is there joy if it can only be experienced in moderation?
If you’re the kind of person who thinks kindness is a weakness, then how and when do you recognise kindness when it’s offered to you? In all likelihood you do recognise it but choose not to acknowledge it.
If you’re the kind of person who can be kind freely, that’s a gift and a lovely one to share.
If you’re the kind of person who is kind regularly, that’s such a great thing.
Kindness. It isn’t a commodity.