Or “How To Be Kind And Wise At The Same Time”
I’m writing this as a follow on from a conversation with my friend Irene, which was sparked by “STOP Caring What Others Think (So Much)”
I used to have many illusions about kindness. Turns out it isn’t all about “free hugs” and “helping old ladies across the road” …
The easiest way to publish this is simply put our (Irene and I’s) conversation on the “front page”. For me this isn’t any different from the comments – both are potentially readable by any monkey with a computer and an internet connection … and we all know there’s billions of people with IQ around the same as a monkey attached to the world wide web … in fact in many cases I’d hazard a guess the monkey is actually smarter … but that’s just my opinion, obviously 🙂
Also saves me time, which is a precious commodity at the moment …
Very well roared Don 😀
It should not be so difficult to behave good and there are no need to be rude, not at all 😉
🙂 not in most civilised situations, people can and often do behave with respect towards each other even if they do disagree …
Yes and it is always possible to act kind, if we really wish to.
Very much, with the “but” it’s easier with some than others 🙂
I agree Don, some act like trolls or bullies to ask for problems…
I’ve seen it personally, and yes they do. There are many documented personality disorders such as narcissism, sociopathy, psychopathy etc, and probably kindness for those people is best left to professionally trained and paid people – psychologists, psychiatrists and psychotherapists. In other cultures they may have religious or spiritual figures who’re able to help. Untrained and unprepared people are probably just going to get hurt in one way or another. Personally I give toxically disordered personalities a wide berth if at all possible !
Kindness is possible in any situation, but like a doctor would refuse to treat a patient if she or he was at risk in the situation, kindness is a choice, not a “set in stone” obligation.
So there’s kindness, and then there’s kindness tempered with wisdom.
And lest we forget the cliche – “sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind”, which I see many circumstances where this is applicable. Which could open up the conversation – “how to define what is an act of kindness ?” … alongside with “who decides what’s a kind act and what’s not ?”
You should write a post about that Don and I would like to reblog it 😀
I think that you have a good view at this and would like to read more.
I had a clever coach who helped me through some of my illusions … and yes I was thinking about blogging about it, now I probably will 🙂
- Kindness is and should always be a choice on the part of the giver. A forced act of kindness isn’t real, authentic or genuine, that’s not kindness, the receiver knows this as does the giver.
- Kindness isn’t an obligation, or a right or privilege to be expected by others. That’s power, control or tyranny.
- Kindness we all have the right to be safe whilst carrying out. Doctors carry out acts of kindness every single day, all across the world, but we wouldn’t expect them to do so in circumstances they may get inured or killed.
- Kindness SHOULD (probably) be withdrawn in situations that would cause the giver harm. Disordered personalities may best be served by paid professionals, the rest of us may not have the required skill or circumstances to be of help or service.
- Kindness isn’t the same as charity, and not all charity is a good thing. Giving money to someone may or may not be a kindness to the receiver. For instance a genuine beggar who can’t make a living doing anything else, perhaps he’s lost both legs, might be an act of kindness. A lazy beggar who’s not really homeless or poor, or in need, is just a burden on his or her society, a parasite. Helping this beggar is just potentially encouraging them to lie and be lazy.
- Kindness also can follow the cliche – “sometimes you have to cruel to be kind”. For example – a parent that gets annoyed with their child playing with an electrical socket, and scolds the child – this is an act of love, of caring about the child’s health and welfare. The scolding may prevent the child from harming itself – which is very kind indeed.
- Acts of discipline can be (and are often) kind – As a scuba instructor, there are situations where we have to be very forceful, abrupt, take immediate direct action and what may seem “unkind”. We aren’t cruel people, entirely the opposite, paramount in our mind is the safety of our students (and our own safety), and such actions are always taken to enforce safety. The student might subjectively feel the instructor was “being unkind”, BUT the instructor will always have a real safety reason they were acting on.
For me, the blanket statement “it is always possible to act kind, if we really wish to”, whilst true, it’s possible, should by tempered with using kindness in a wise and healthy way. As a concious choice because we genuinely want to help someone who needs us. After all tomorrow, it could be you that’s the one in need, so without kindness, it’d be a horrible world to live in.
AND to be clear – kindness isn’t just “talking in a warm and sympathetic tone”, “free hugs” or “helping old ladies across the road”. In fact, quite harsh acts can save a person’s life – these are potentially just as kind, possibly arguably more, especially if the person gets to keep their life or limb as a result. I would much prefer someone pushed me onto the floor than let me get run over by a vehicle, for instance.
The key is in the intent of the kind act, which should be a genuine concern for the other, and a genuine desire to be of service. The act itself can take many forms, from gentle and subtle to firm and direct, depending on the context and circumstances.
Lastly I’d offer that kindness, the same as charity should start at home. “at home” to me means in myself, as in “home is where the heart is”. So kindness should start with and in oneself.
Be kind to yourself. You will probably find kind acts towards others follow automatically.
(apologies for any typos, I’m a little time poor at the moment ! … doing my best is all)
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