Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. We also associate affection, gentleness, warmth, concern and care with kindness.
Kindness can require courage and strength, it connects us with each other, and as a social and caring species it could be argued that kindness is natural and instinctive; but is it? In evolution terms survival of the fittest may be associated with selfishness, however I like the idea that devoting resources to others, rather than having more and more for yourself, brings lasting well-being, and kindness is a big part of this.
Kindness is also about choice; we choose to be kind; we chose who to be kind to and how to be kind.
What is kindness?
It can be so simple; it can be to open your eyes and enable you to see people in need and help them.
A caring word, a smile, opening a door, just letting someone know you are there helps them, and you.
As a culture we love sharing and sharing food is another way of showing kindness, of showing we care, using food as a metaphor for our emotions.
Kindness is based on love.
Kindness can be just giving an honest compliment, and then if it is appreciated, gives everyone a good feeling.
Sometimes, though, being kind is the hardest thing to do.
When giving feedback or saying ‘no’ for example.
The kindest thing we can do is be honest with others. Give honest feedback or tell the truth in a kind and gentle way is helpful to others. We all know how it feels to receive feedback in an unhelpful way and appreciate the time and consideration if it is given in a kind, constructive and gentle way.
Kindness can be tough, and it might leave you feeling less than kind
Kindness is been able to celebrate someone else success.
It is also kindness to yourself to celebrate your own successes rather than put it down to luck, or dismiss it.
Kindness to yourself can overflow into kindness to others, it all starts with you, so in effect self- love and self- care (which are sometimes the hardest things to have) helps others.
Do you treat yourself kindly? How do you speak to yourself? Do you have an inner critic or an inner supporter? Make sure your inner voice is kind, generous and kind.
Kindness is a wonderful, beautiful and complex quality which I believe we all have and can use well.
The best way to understand kindness is to practice kindness.
Diane Whitehead is one of the counsellors that supports Little Hiccups.
You can find out a little bit more about Little Hiccups’ Counselling service here including information about both of our Counsellors and our criteria for applying on our website here.