Monday, 12 March 2012

Kindness

Because that's what kindness is.  It's not doing something for someone else because they can't, but because you can. Andrew Iskander


The thing I've never gotten over, and I hope I never do, is how kind the people in my Life have been to me. In my darkest hours, the kindness of strangers has helped more than I believe they ever realised. It's come from people you wouldn't expect. I certainly didn't and I was grateful to receive it. The reason I've never gotten over it, is simple. The acts of kindness given to me have enabled me to survive, to grow, to blossom. In short, it's only through kindness that I have the Life I have longed for.


Kindness from strangers: a smile, an act of courtesy, a helping hand, a five minute passing time conversation, an encouraging comment on my blog or on Facebook; they all add up. Strangers become friends. 


It's a vastly under-rated virtue. Where do you see it on the wish-list in the dating profiles? Is it there next to good sense of humour, good looking? It took me awhile to figure out that it's one of my main requirements in my relationships...and I don't mean just with men. Kindness must be the cornerstone of all relationships, both with yourself and with other people.


It's impossible to hold on to anger with someone else if you're kind. It's impossible to be horrid to yourself, if you're gentle with yourself.


Kindness is not by any means weakness. Some people get the two mixed up. More fool them. Kindness is also the swift kick up the backside to encourage movement, growth and to halt stupidity. Yes, I've had a few of them too. They've been hard to take. But then, what I did to myself and other people was worse. Kindness in the face of anger and rejection is hard to do, but so worthwhile.


I don't believe this World is going to Hell in a handbasket. I've been shown far too much caring, compassion and kindness for this outcome to be a given. Can you imagine how much things would change if we were kind to each other on a global level? Perhaps soldiers would put down their weapons, pick bandages and heal wounds instead...and their governments would let them. I don't believe anyone ever got PTSD from kindness.


But let's get real for a minute, how much can one act of kindness change things for everyone? You'd be surprised how kindness ripples out. I was taught kindness and now I try to pass it on. If I've smiled at someone in the street, perhaps I lighten their day, perhaps when they go home, they hug the person they love? Perhaps the person they love goes into work the next morning a little bit lighter? Why not? And what's wrong with that?


Life is hard. That's a universal truth, whoever you are. If you accept that, you've then got two choices: you can fight - yourself and other people, or you can do what you can to lighten yours and other peoples' burdens. It doesn't mean you need to don robes and shave your head, in fact unless you receive a spiritual calling, it's probably not a good idea. It just means that you bring a little kindness to your daily life.


I suppose I'm not interested in small details. I'm interested in the big stuff, which is why I tend to blog. It gives me the scope to explore these ideas. It explains in part why I became an NLP Practitioner, though I suspect that's a whole other blog post.

24 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more. I've been reduced to tears by the kindness of strangers (which can be a bit embarrassing, actually).

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    1. Thank you. So it's not just me then? Phew. :-)

      But seriously; I confess, I've cried over the caring and support of the blogging community in tough times.

      Not to mention In Real Life....

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    2. Absolutely. It's remarkable and quite wonderful.

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  2. If this was Facebook, I'd *like* your comments Z.

    Instead, thank you.

    Thank you for the many kindnesses you've shown me. I have appreciated them and you.

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  3. You do make an awful lot of sense here. You are quite right... Kindness is a quality that is learned through the Kindness of others.
    Thank you for reminding me Roses...

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    Replies
    1. You my darling, are not a person who needed reminding.

      Your kindness shines through everything you do!

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  4. Well, I know we've been truly kind to each other...I remember sending you encouraging words when I first "met" you on your blog and you do the same for me on Facebook and my blog...somehow you seem to "know" when I need a virtual hug, which, while it can't be in person, is still something to "make my day" and is very much appreciated.

    I recall a story from past summer....I tend to smile a lot at strangers. I say hi to strangers, I say hi to their dogs and their babies. Some people think it's strange. Some think it invites weirdos. But one time, I smiled at a black man at the grocery and instead of just smiling back, he said to me, "Thank you. THANK YOU for smiling back at me. You are the first one today to do so. Out of everyone that I smiled at today, you are the only one that did it back. This makes me happy. Why is everyone in your country so angry? Why don't they smile back?" He was from another country, where, I'm not sure but it made me happy to be ONE person to represent the good in my country, not the selfish, angry, I'm-too-busy-to-bother" people. It was so easy, so simple, and it cost me nothing. You never know what someone is going through and how that little smile can really make someone's day.

    Thanks for a sweet and timely post. xo

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    1. Bless your heart. You have been my inspiration. You've gone out and followed your Bliss and doing the work you love. It's a very rare thing and you reminded me how important it is for a person to do so.

      I love your story. That's exactly it!

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  5. xoxoxoxoxox for you! 9and yes, i am smiling right now!!!)

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    1. uh, that was supposed to be a ( NOT a 9! LOL

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    2. I'm smiling now too.

      Hugs and hugs to you too.

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  6. Blanche DuBois: Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

    A Streetcar Named Desire

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  7. That's a lovely quote.

    Thanks LX!

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  8. I'm too busy shaving my head to comment.

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    Replies
    1. Photographs, photographs, photographs!

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    2. Yeah MJ.

      Where are the pictures?

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  9. Replies
    1. *waves at Ms Boxer*

      Yep. I'm here now!

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  10. I think the majority of people would agree with this. The MAJORITY! Then why can't we get along? Mmmmm! The only way we'll find the answer is digging deep into our set of beliefs. Everyone perform an act of kindness from time to time. Even criminals and Republicans!!

    Having worked most of my life for different charity organisations, I've come to realise kindness is often only a facade. Today, I run away from generous donators and well-dressed volunteers and I tend to find any type of kindness suspicious. Courtesy! Now I sure will always be courteous, even with people who are rude to me. But kindness...

    I'll help anyone in need the best I can. But is it kindness? Some people do kindness and the next minute they start bashing on someone or bitching about everything or putting down and judging anyone who doesn't live according to their beliefs and values.

    OK! Here I am babbling and ranting again! I guess it's time I set an appointment with my therapist!!!

    On a lighter note, I must say that I've always pictured MJ with no hair and having a huge living crab stuck on her head! Don't ask me why!

    And how about some good old british humor to redeem myself!

    ;)
    Hugs
    Jon

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    1. Hi Jon, I think you've made a bit of a mistake equating charity with kindness. Whilst the two aren't mutually exclusive, I have to say I have also had your experience in charitable organisations. And I agree, charity comes with a whole heap of agenda which often does not include kindness.

      I'm talking about kindness on a more fundamental level.

      Kindness as an experience of gentleness and caring can really only happen at as an authentic experience. In my Life, it's the small kindnesses that have meant the most: the smiles, the hugs, a helping hand when I've needed it.

      I think kindness in day to day relationships are far more important than any large scale charitable works, and if it can inform the work you do, all the better.

      I adore Joyce Grenfell. Thanks for that!

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    2. I heard that Jon.

      See, Miss Roses, what happens when you allow comment follow-up notification?

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    3. MJ, I'm glad you 'encouraged' me to change this...I like the new reply function for each comment. Much better.

      Though I'm glad you didn't hit Jon. I'm not so good with head wounds.

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    4. You are right Roses, I tend to mix all that stuff up: charity, generosity, kindness, good deeds which are, for a lot of people, only a way to attract admiration and prestige... I guess that's why I got out of that business two years ago!

      Now I'm focusing more on the "smal kindness" you're talking about with no publicity, no drumroll, no obligation whatsoever, you know... trying to apply literally the expression "do not mention it".

      Oh Hai MJ!

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