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Kindness

Kindness is the concept of the moment for me – one that I have been thinking a lot about. The phrase ‘being kind’ makes me think of pet owners or people who look upon children with a beatific smile. It’s not something that I particularly come across.

Kindness is a quality that is missing from my life. I’m too busy, as I think many of us are, to take the time to be kinder or to pay attention to kindness around us. I’m nice to people, helpful even, but not kind. I’m too bolshy and forthright, perhaps, to see any of my actions as kind. There’s a selflessness to ‘kind’ which I can’t achieve. I’m too snarky. Too quick to judge.

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Maybe I’m overthinking it. What is kind anyway? The dictionary says:

Having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature:

she was a good, kind woman

he was very kind to me

That seems easy enough. I just feel that there’s always a motive when I’m nice. I donate my time to Guides because I’m passionate about sharing feminism, not because I’m being nice. I help my friends because I have had enough therapy to know a few tips and tools and I enjoy sharing my knowledge.

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Is there always a motive behind kindness? Maybe the issue is my choice in language. ‘Motive’ is seedy, an unspoken greedy concept denoting nefarious subtext. ‘Motivation’ is, perhaps, better.

There’s no such thing as a selfless act. Everyone does good deeds because it makes them feel good. That doesn’t change the positivity the good deed does. In fact, it doubles it!

I know some kind people. I’m so thankful for them. Whether it’s helping me by bringing a branch round for our Christmas decorations or taking the baby while I write, my life is made simpler and more joyful by the acts of kindness that others have shown me. How can I do that for others? And is seeking to make others feel good so that I can feel good still an act of kindness?

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Having a baby and being responsible for another person, both to him and also a responsibility to be a good person for my husband; to not be a shit when I am tired due to night feeds, or sore from mastitis, or irate from baby crying has made me think about love and kindness. There’s not enough kindness in the world. My family of origin aren’t kind to each other. I’m sarcastic and take the piss out of my friends that I love. How often do I counterbalance this with good deeds or kind words? Maybe not often enough.

I’m determined to make sure that R grows up to be kind. To do this, I need to actively practise kindness myself.

Being kind isn’t just external. It’s easy to be unkind to yourself, to push yourself too hard or to berate yourself when things aren’t going well. I’ve struggled with doing too much of late and have been unkind to myself when I haven’t managed to do it all. Thankfully, I am working to improve this, to ask for help when I need it and not feel like that’s a bad thing.

I have also tried to be kinder to those around me. It’s a feedback loop, where the more I do for others, the less I feel bad about myself.

Kindness is important. Kindness is love in action. Through being kind, we share love with the world without asking for anything physical in response.

This post is to remind myself that in the run-up to Valentine’s Day, I’m determined to be kinder to everyone.

 

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