The Kindness Effect

Owave

With permission from Creator Oksana Rus. Find more of her art at http://www.oksana-rus.com 

 

“Kindness is as sustaining to life as the ocean is to this planet”

One of the best aspects of writing online articles is the opportunity to interact with the readers. On several occasions, those conversations not only spawned additional articles but I also had the pleasure of meeting new and wonderful connections. Such was the case for last week’s (click here to read it).

To begin with, the beautiful artwork is by Oksana Rus; a talented, young multi-media artist who mentioned that article touched her and she asked if I wanted to collaborate. I was thrilled and grateful to feature art from such a brilliant and kind soul.

Shortly after that, business consultant, Charlene Norman, affirmed in a message that kindness was quite essential and important to her as well. However, she included an additional comment which caught me completely off guard. So much so that my brain immediately began racing around, pondering what she had expressed.

She wrote, “I too believe kindness is the only way forward. So much better than the gratitude thing that seems to pervade”. 

Gratitude, to her, was receiving much more attention while kindness, on the other hand, wasn’t getting the spotlight it deserved. This was an intriguing concept and one which I had not previously considered thoroughly.  Both gratitude and kindness are important virtues so why would she feel so adamantly about kindness?

With her permission, I am recounting, as well as elaborating on, my response to her.

Gratitude is typically something we feel about ourselves while kindness is largely doing something for others. Undoubtedly there are a myriad of things for which we can have gratitude; however, it essentially is a measure of our own emotional state. Kindness, while also being something which we can show ourselves, mostly is an act done to others.

Gratitude, however, is not a trait monopolized only by the virtuous; even an evil person can be grateful for his gain. It is, although, difficult for someone with ill intent to be kind. Showing a form of kindness to someone because of needing something from them, is not kindness but rather manipulation under the guise of it.

Bear in mind this is not an attempt to repress gratitude and turn the limelight on kindness, it is merely an observation about the differences between the two. Both are exceptional virtues and ones which most definitely require more focus and practice from all of us. But what may set kindness apart is that its outcome will always affect others.

Certainly gratitude can show on a person’s face but showing kindness to others creates lasting effects. How many instances can you recall when others kindness positively affected you? Now try and recollect the times you remember someone being grateful and it moved you in the same way kindness did.

It may be that being kind to others is more difficult or several other reasons why gratitude receives more attention, what’s important is that more of both occur. This week, focus on increasing  both and see whose life you can touch. If you have a memorable experience, please leave a note in the comments.

My thanks again to Charlene and Oksana. You can find out more about both of them by clicking on their names as well as purchase or view more of Oksana’s artwork by clicking here.

 

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The Kindness Failure

Paul Morris

Photo By Paul Morris

“Being kind to someone who may not deserve it, is a show of strength which no muscle can produce.”  

Last week, my article titled “The Kindness Factor” (click here to read it) asserted that being kind is something upon which we all can improve.  Furthermore, it contended that attempting to resolve disputes using aggressive behavior rather than being kind, could be an indication of a negative and undesirable character issue.

Fundamentally, kindness does not equate to weakness. Although many will want to seize on that type of behavior, they are the ones who are showing weakness. Loud and brash behavior may be entertaining to watch, but it should be reserved for reality television and not as a go-to negotiating tool.

When someone is seen as speaking loudly and confrontationally, it is often assumed to be a formidable and uncompromising act. It is as though the one shouting the loudest wins. Unfortunately, this conduct is extolled far too often and by too many; incorrectly construed as “telling it like it is.”

Nevertheless, when telling it like it is implies degrading or humiliating someone, that is a display of an overinflated ego and a weak mind. Raising one’s voice to win an argument reveals that person has run out of ammunition so to speak and cannot maintain composure; allowing frustration to direct the argument. Disputes are not won in a shouting match. What does occur, however, is to create even more division and ultimately make it more difficult for any agreement.

There is a very good reason the “Golden Rule” states we are to “do to others what you would want done to you.” What it does NOT declare is “do to them what they have done to you.” Responding with kindness when confronted by aggressive behavior, takes strength and mental fortitude. And because that person is likely trying to antagonize you, a calm and considerate response is prone to catch the other person off guard.

Admittedly, it can be difficult in every situation but understand that when a person exudes loud and confrontational behaviors, it is a blaring depiction of a highly inflated ego that was truthfully spawned to cover up low self-esteem.  Confidence doesn’t require a fanfare, and self-assurance needs no stage. Conviction and passion look for resolutions, and those seeking truth do not at the same time look to blame, accuse, or denounce.

If there is a global failure occurring, it is the lack of kindness shown to fellow human beings. In nearly every global conflict, what lies at the heart of the problems are egos demanding to be right. Forcing on others religion, political views, economic maneuvering, most of which can be traced back to those who have allowed arrogance to reign over kindness, usually done because of their untethered self-importance.

This week, really endeavor to be kind, even in situations which may warrant opposite responses, show compassion, and pass it along. It is something in which we ALL can participate and make this world a better place.

My thanks to Paul Morris on Unsplash for the beautiful photo and I look forward to your comments.

The Kindness Factor

“The one sure thing about kindness is that there is never, ever enough!”

Take a look around and it’s easy to see how severed and polarized this world is becoming. It is as though some secret conspiracy has begun to disrupt and divide relationships, communities, religions, nations; and it’s doing a reasonably good job. The increase is so rapid that it appears to be without a remedy.

There is, however, something that all of us can do. Since we are all members of the human race, it is only reasonable and responsible that we feel obliged to make it a better world.

Ironically, it is understandable why so many sit back and watch this spectacle unfold. It is not too dissimilar from slowing down your car to peer at the aftermath of an accident; curiously looking but thankful we are not a part of it. But that assumption is incorrect and rather shortsighted . We ARE part of it!

We can no longer sit back and watch the struggle nor think we are doing our duty by picking up arms and taking up sides. These actions only fuel the fire.

The first step we can take is simple and certainly something in which all can participate and that is to begin by being kind. Kindness, as well as compassion, consideration, and humanity, are all qualities of which this world should never be in short supply. They are something upon which we can all continue to contribute on a greater scale and an essential step to changing this current tide of ugliness, name calling and perceived superiority .

Contrary to popular belief, it is not a show of weakness. In fact, it takes more fortitude to be kind rather than ruthless. Showing compassion in the face of adversity is a defining moment for character building while exuding anger or spite in the same circumstance takes no mental strength whatsoever.

The person with the loudest voice doesn’t win the argument. Similarly, logic alone doesn’t convince an opponent. Opinions don’t require reason and screaming at someone how uninformed they are is akin to extinguishing the fire with fuel. No matter how well-reasoned your judgement is, opinions aren’t changed by shouting and mocking the ignorance of others’ beliefs. It does however, instigate and energize a completely opposite reaction.

But when someone approaches you with a calm, gentle, and concerned voice, it has the ability to engage and initiate discussion. A non-threatening voice invites an environment of togetherness; one in which negotiation and reason can prevail. The quickest way to disengage and generate dissention is by increasing volume and resorting to name calling and other sarcastic behaviors.

Unfortunately there are too many contemporary examples of those emanating these behaviors. That somehow they are a show of strength and negotiation power when in reality, it shows an entirely different type of character shortcoming. That, however, will be the topic of next week’s article.

My thanks to Tom Parsons for the wonderful picture. Find out more about him on Instagram by clicking here. I look forward to your comments.

 

A Reversal of Fortune

Gold

“What is the value of money if it cannot be used to raise the value of life?”

While researching this article, it was easy to find stores of those who started with virtually nothing and made great fortunes. But why do these types of articles abound while the ones featured in last week’s article (click here to read it) are not nearly as heralded? It is admirable for someone to rise up from nothing but those who have achieved it yet give it away for the sake of a better world, that is an even greater sacrifice.

For 2018, let’s continue with two more stories that ought to be receiving much more exposure and adoration. In 2010, Bill and Melinda Gates, along with Warren Buffet, started “The Giving Pledge”. They gathered 40 other billionaires to “publicly dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy”. Soon after, they traveled the world to get other affluent individuals to pledge the same.

To date, they have received over 170 pledges from the world’s wealthiest individuals, couples and families from 22 countries. It garners adults in their 30’s to those over the age of 90. Their mission is to focus on global issues and give to charitable causes to create a better planet while inspiring countless people in all income brackets.

Perhaps the most inspiring story is that of a man in his 80’s who pledged to give nearly all of his amassed, 8 billion dollar fortune to charitable causes. He was the founder of the Duty-Free shops in the airport and through a series of tactful investments, acquired his wealth. One of his more admirable qualities is his quest to be anonymous which was the condition of one of his first large donations. Although his name is easily found, I wish to respect his inclinations.

In 1984, he began Atlantic Philanthropies which self-describes its mission “to devote his wealth to the service of humanity. A champion of Giving While Living….” He strongly emphasizes the “people of wealth should use it to better the world during their lifetimes”. To date, the organization has given over 8 billion dollars; a higher percentage of wealth than any other person has given. He still remains an active part of his globally-reaching organization.

It is stories such as these which ought to be permeating the news headlines. For it is only through this type of effort that any semblance of “World Peace” can be achieved. If our efforts only bring about gain and pleasure for ours alone, that attitude promotes a culture of separation, mistrust, graft, and many other abuses.

Giving is an essential part of having. It shows gratitude for what we’ve achieved. The knowledge that no matter how much personal commitment we had, these goals were not achieved alone.

When we sincerely, and better yet, anonymously give to better our world, then the world will have been a better place for our being here. And that is a life worth living.

Thanks again and I look forward to your comments.