On Kindness

Humans are capable of so many things that move on the spectrum of amazingly positive to amazingly negative to amazingly cruel. When I read the news, it amazes me what’s happening in the world that’s being reported on. And of course, there are plentiful things which are missed which is where I enjoy social media.

Kindness is one of those activities which most people are familiar with. As a value it’s probably held up there as one of the few which are true human values. Interestingly, humans aren’t the only species capable of kindness. So there seems to be an evolutionary element to it too, which is interesting.

It can be sometimes hard to recognise someone’s kindness to us. Often when someone offers a kind act, unless the context of the situation helps us understand that, it might go missed. These days, acts of kindness tend to be when you donate to charity or pay for your friends meal or ring a friend who’s having a hard time. I wonder if the opportunities for kindness have always been there and we just express them differently today to yesteryear.

Kindness taps into our compassion. We recognise when someone might be in need of some help and support. Some argue that there isn’t enough compassion in the world. Some argue that capitalism is the antithesis of compassion and of kindness. Some argue we’ve all become too selfish to be kind. We expect recogntion of our kind effort therefore negating the act itself.

Being considerate to others is and always will be a winner. It does so much social and personal good. Relationships are built on it, communities thrive because of it, conflict dissolves because of it, and resilience is built by it.

This thing of kindness, I wonder how we manifest it at work? I wonder how many feel they can be kind to their fellow workers? I wonder how managers act in kind ways? I wonder if kindness is accepted at all in the workplace? I wonder if we were more kind would we have so many conflicts arising at work? I wonder if kindness were more accepted, would people do it more?

And then of self-kindness. How do we recognise that we need to be more kind to ourselves? We talk a lot about work-life balance. Are we just saying we need to be more kind to ourselves? What does that mean? How do I do that? Isn’t that just another form of selfishness? How am I helping anyone else if I’m only being kind to myself?

So, today is World Kindness Day. If you choose to act kindly, that’s only going to be an excellent thing. If you choose not to, that’s just life.