“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
Kindness is powerful. We desire kindness the most when we are experiencing stress, chaos, conflict, confusion or when we are suffering. We want kindness from others when we have had a terrible day, received bad news, or experienced a negative event. All of us crave kindness and whether we admit we desire it or we dismiss its significance, we are acutely aware when we are not met with kindness. Kindness can oftentimes be undervalued. Its power to heal and transform people can be underestimated; its definition can be misunderstood, and it can sometimes be used strategically to manipulate others. Sometimes we justify our acts of unkindness towards others because we were treated unkindly ourselves. We are entirely acquainted and familiar with the expression that “kindness is a weakness”, but we are not as accustomed to recognising the power of kindness.
Kindness can be qualified as a human characteristic. We recognise kindness when we are treated with consideration by others. Whenever we show our support, friendliness, or when our words or actions demonstrate good will towards others, we are engaging in kindness. It is no challenge or obstacle at all to be kind to others when people are treating us with consideration. When we like, agree with, or approve of what another person does or says, we tend to be kinder to that person. Whenever we consider a person a friend, or whenever we trust or share a bond with another person, we tend to be kinder because we approve of, have an affinity with, or we like that person. Most of us will act with kindness and extend our support towards people we know, trust, like, or understand.
Kindness simply requires acting with consideration towards others. Sometimes people will justify their unkindness because they were treated unkindly by others themselves. Most people have experienced some form of unkindness by others. Whether that unkindness was warranted or not is a question of perception. We have all had our feelings hurt or felt some kind of deep dissatisfaction, anger or unpleasantness. Perhaps more frequently than we would prefer, we witness, experience or are exposed to information, objects, events and people, that we may find distressing, or disturbing to our happiness, comfort, and peace. So why do we give ourselves permission to act unkindly towards others? What are we telling ourselves to justify our own acts of unkindness?
It is easy to slip into unkindness if we allow other people’s lack of consideration to trigger us. We have all been complicit in responding to unkindness with our own unkindness because unkindness is contagious, if we allow it to be. If we continue being unkind towards others, then we shouldn’t act with surprise or indignation when others act unkindly towards us. Throughout history, we know that every war and conflict that ever started was because of unkindness and we also know that every battle concluded when agreement, consideration and cooperation were reached. A lot of pain in this world can be avoided altogether if we simply choose to act with kindness.
Kindness can transform and heal people. Kindness can bring you closer to others and it can mend damaged relationships. Kindness feels good. It feels good to know that because of our consideration, friendship, or support, we were able to provide comfort or assistance to another person. Relationships with others which facilitate and promote the exchange of kindness between one another are positive and worth consideration.
It is not only a matter of our individual principles or the beliefs or ideals that we cling to or cherish that support kindness, but it is in our best interests to practice kindness. Well-adjusted people, more often than not, respond to kindness with kindness. If someone is obstinately holding on to a belief that kindness is a weakness, or if we interact with people who lack the capacity or desire to be kind, then we should consider being kind to ourselves when we are not met with kindness by others. Being kind to yourself is not being egocentric but an act of self-care. Self-kindness can enrich our state of happiness and improve our physical and mental well-being.
Kindness is a choice and it is infectious. If we choose to practice kindness we are supporting and encouraging other people to act with greater consideration. When we intentionally choose to act with kindness, when we apply consideration in our dealings with others, then we are more likely to experience greater satisfaction in our lives because kindness is infectious. Unkindness is equally infectious; so consider whether you would be satisfied, enriched or enhancing your life if you were treated in the same manner you treated others.