PREVIOUS: LOVE TANK
BOOK: Kind Self-Healing ∼ Any Eden
QUOTE: Dr. Bloom (YALE) points out that empathy is skewed, whereas compassion is just.
“Empathy is a disaster in this complicated & interesting world, because :
1. it’s biased. We feel more empathy toward people who look like us, share our skin color or ethnicity, are attractive rather than ugly, & are close rather than far away
2. it’s innumerate. We feel empathy for the one, but not for the hundred, or the thousands we never interact with
3. it can be weaponized (by Narcissists & their Flying Monkeys)”
DEF: KINDNESS – The quality of being considerate, friendly & generous
ALWAYS start with being Kind to yourself – caring, compassionate & unconditionally gentle.
Mostly, ACoAs didn’t have role models for how to treat ourselves & others this way. But we can learn to do it now. Like love, it takes work to understand & feel it. We can practice every day by how we talk to ourselves & how we let others treat us.
(See posts: “The UNIT:Adult-Parent” // “What is Self-esteem” // “Healthy Individuation” // “Emotional Maturity” // “Being Confident”
IN RELATIONSHIPS of various kind – at home, at work, in a store, on the street….. The degree & type of ‘kindness action’ we take will depend on where we are or who we’re with.
Kindness can mean something different to each of us, seen in the way we choose to show it. It can be through acceptance, empathy, generous gestures, thoughtfulness…. AND without expecting / demanding ‘goodies’ in return.
Genuine Kindness can only come from having enough in our LOVE TANK to overflow – some – on to others, without diminishing ourselves. It’s doing positive, intentional, voluntary acts – not only when it’s easy, but also when it’s hard.
Kindness is not a version of being nice (see Part 2) which is usually insincere, done begrudgingly, & only at the bare minimum.
It is not co-dependence or people-pleasing – because it’s NON-narcissistic,
not about gratifying a need to compensate for self-hate or making us look good (like the Pharisees in Jesus’ time). And it’s not ‘niceness’, because It must include having healthy boundaries.
Science seems to supports the experience of devoting some of our resources to others, rather than only grabbing more & more for yourself, brings about a feeling of well-being.
💕Kindness has been found by researchers to be the most important predictor of satisfaction & stability in marriage.
📚Many universities, including Harvard, are now emphasizing kindness on applications for admission. (“Healthy Give & Take“)
Kindness is GRACE. Being human, we all have personality flaws & so make mistakes. (Posts: “ACoAs – Humility”)
So we can & should treat ourselves & others with kindness when imperfections crop up – as they often do. We should not be surprised or be judgmental. This means to :
— think before speaking
— forgive before seeking revenge
— think about long-term goals for our relationships – instead of short-term gratification & our pride.
You can’t be perfect, & neither can anyone else. Rather than anger, offer grace – be kind.
PASSING it ON – People (& animals) learn by observation & imitation. As we treat ourselves & others with kindness, others – especially children – can learn it from us. When we smile, say a nice word, do an unexpected deed, or plan a surprise…. we show the power of kindness – making people feel good, passing along hope & encouraging peace.
Most people are able to learn right from wrong through association. When you see someone being kind or notice it in a family member or friend, make sure to tell them you appreciate what they did. Positive reinforcement helps people want to do more good deeds & reminds them to act with intention.
(Modified from the Inspire Kindness Team)
NEXT: Kindness (Part 2)