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The quality of kindness

I have come to believe that we greatly underestimate the value of kindness in our interactions with everyone, but especially the people close to us, to reduce friction in our daily lives.

Lately the world feels all upside down and it might be difficult to maintain your sense of humour. The uncertainty of what is going to happen, how this will impact you and what the future will look like are increasing anxiety and decreasing our tolerance with people and their behaviours. We can all benefit from being kind to one another during this time.

When the world feels tough, we need a safe space to land. Kindness to and from the people around us, can help us create that space for ourselves and others.

Close your eyes and remember a time that you were kind to someone, or they were kind to you. What did that feel like? Where can you feel it in your body? What colour would you give to kindness? What are the qualities you attach to kindness?

For me kindness feels like a light blue blanket that I can wrap around me. An unexpected kindness from a stranger feels like yellow flowers. It has the quality of grace and the power to ignite hope.

Five characteristics of kindness:

  1. Kindness is not something that demands hard work. It originates from the simple act of doing no harm to others.

  2. Being kind is not the same as being weak. If you are kind to someone it does not make you a doormat. If someone treats you with disrespect when you are kind to them you might need to practice some assertive behaviour.

  3. An important lesson in kindness involves asking yourself: ‘How would I handle being the recipient of this?’ If it doesn’t feel good avoid the behaviour.

  4. Kindness includes:

  • Doing something for someone just because you can and want to, without expecting anything in return. This can be a simple as making a cup of tea, giving a hug or preparing their favourite meal or watching a programme that they choose.

  • Smiling at and looking someone in the eye when you thank them.

  • Being there for them and listening actively without judging.

  • Biting your tongue, not criticising and not sweating the small stuff. Sometimes being happy is more important than being right.

5. You also need to be kind to yourself. Be mindful of the chatter in your own head. How do you speak to yourself? What do you do for yourself that is kind?

If you want to cultivate more kindness and greater harmony in your relationships in the heat of the moment and when your emotional

band-with is narrow, keep these three questions in mind before you say or do anything:

  • Is it true?

  • Is it necessary?

  • Is it kind?

Incorporate this practise into your everyday life and practise the smallest acts of kindness randomly, just because you can and care. See how the quality of your kindness has a ripple effect on the people around you and notice the effects on all your relationships and your mood.

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