kindness (ˈkīn(d)nəs/), noun – “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”

Kindness. A known innate trait in humans that somehow, over time … gets switched off in some people … perhaps, never even switched on in a select few people. While it is assumed to be a product of nature, it is also further strengthened by nurture as we learn and grow. Kindness is encouraged by every major religion on Earth, by great leaders as diverse as the Dalai Lama to Richard Carlson, the popular author of the “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” series.
Kindness leads to many of the virtues to which we, as human beings, value and desire. The Talmud says “Deeds of kindness are equal in weight to all the commandments.” The Dalai Lama says that kindness IS his religion. Thaddeus Golas, the author of “A Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment”, comes closest to why I believe that kindness is important: “All your words and actions define the world you desire to exist in.” When we focus on kindness, our world becomes kinder; we, become kinder. Kindness can lead us wherever we want to go: to a happier life, to being more human, to enlightenment, to making a difference in this world, to raising loving and kind families.
Here are just a few reasons that being KIND is innumerable:
  • Being kind feels good. Doing something for someone else really does make us feel good. Just as running releases endorphins, so does kindness. Make someone smile and you’ll feel better for having done so.
  • God/The Universe/Karma, etc., smiles on kindness. Whether we are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, whatever your spirituality/religion … kindness is an important part of the exhortations of all these religions. Both Buddha and Christ were kind and encouraged their followers to be likewise.
  • Kindness broadens our perspective. In order to be kind, we have to pay attention to what is happening around us. As we notice more things and help others, we get a glimpse of other ways of looking at things. A broader view on things helps us to keep an greater, overall perspective on life.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

  • Kindness softens our heart. When we look for kind deeds, beauty, and the opportunity for kindness, we’ll find that we are more compassionate and more tolerant. As we practice empathy, it opens our heart to others. Often times, open hearts equal open minds, and we certainly need more of that these days.
  • Kindness brightens the world. When we are kind to people, it makes them happy. The more people who experience kindness from us, the more happy people will be in our lives. When those around us are happier, our world becomes a brighter, lighter place to live.
  • Kindness helps people feel respected and less alone. By recognizing someone’s need for help and acting on it in a compassionate manner, it makes the recipient feel valued. It also makes the giver feel better about themselves and more connected.
  • Kindness makes people want to be around us. One of the most common responses to kindness is gratitude. People appreciate what we’ve done for them. Our kindness is very attractive, so they want to be around us and actually seek us out. Buddha lists this as one of the eleven impacts of lovingkindness, but he put it even more strongly, saying: “Lovingkindness will make people love you.” … and as the Christian Bible says, “Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE.”
 
 Human Kindness has no parallel.
  • Kindness bears wonderful fruit. Kindness begets kindness, openness, health and reduces the effects of stress on our bodies and our hearts. In many ways, kindness is like Liquid Plumber for the soul: it opens us up, clears out the dross, and dwells lightly in our hearts.
  • Kindness begets kindness. When you are kind to others, the impact of your action doesn’t stop there. Many times the recipient of your kindness and others who see or hear about your kindness are inspired to be kinder. The ripples of kindness are truly endless.
  • Children and Young Adults will continue to learn from your examples. When you are kind to family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers, children will be more likely to be kind as well. People often treat their children with kindness, but can be short with a crazy driver, strangers, or others outside their immediate family. This can cause “us and them” thinking that devalues others as “less” than ourselves. Kindness breeds good communication, tolerance, acceptance and most of all, understanding.
For me, HOW I go about my day is more important than WHAT I do. If you think of the billions of people on the planet doing something daily – whether that be obtaining enough food for survival or running a billion dollar corporation – they have a single thread in common, how they treat themselves and others.
I hope you’re having a great week!

“Be kind to one another.” ~Ellen Degeneres

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