Friday, January 22, 2010

True kindness

The world today needs more kindness. I don't think that this is a circumstance that is peculiar to our times but perhaps a key factor in the social condition of the human animal. But what is kindness and how do we foster it, make it grow and flourish in the hard soil of tough economic times?

a definition

Wikipedia has this to say on the subject "Kindness is the act or the state of being kind and marked by charitable behavior, marked by mild disposition, pleasantness, tenderness and concern for others." And this is a good place to start when thinking about the subject. Kindness can be directed at ourselves or at others. Kindness cannot be faked, even when we do something nice for someone out of a selfish motive it is still a kindness. The only time kindness can be corrupted is when we hold our kind actions over the heads of others. However as you can see this does not conform to the definition of kindness since it shows both a lack of tenderness and concern for others.

It is important to note that kindness is not the same as foolhardy generosity. When we are kind we give of our time money and energy to help ourselves and other accomplish what needs to be done. The key here and what separates it from pure generosity is that we do not give what is wanted but what is needed. When you stop to think about it kindness can be quite egotistical, since to give what is needed is to suppose that we can know what others need.

Kindness must be moderated by wisdom

To practice true kindness we must first cultivate wisdom and discernment, we must be able to separate the wants from the needs. We have to have the clarity to see when being given something will do more harm than having to work for it. And we must be able to give only what we are willing to part with. When we give too much we can become resentful corrupting what may have been an act of true kindness. The responsibility for the giving rests with the giver not the receiver since the only action they preformed was to except what was offered.

To give what is not needed is foolishness, to give what cannot be handled is foolishness to give that which we cannot stand to lose is foolishness. When we desired to be generous and kind we must do it in a way that leaves the receiver in a better position not just martially but also holistically. The kind action we take towards them must make them better not just in body but in mind and nature as well.

I need to stop and thank Patty from Why not start now for writing the post that got me started thinking about kindness. So go out there and be kind and be gentle but do it with wisdom. As always I love to hear your thoughts and comments and have a great weekend.


Amit Sodha - The Power Of Choice said...

Kindness has a power that can heal many wounds. It is definitely something that more of is needed in this world.

Thanks for sharing quinn! :-)

Patty - Why Not Start Now? said...

This is lovely, Quinn. I think adding wisdom to kindness, as you say, elevates it to something very special, indeed. And thanks so much for the mention. I think we're on the same wavelength this week. You've included that photo of the little bird; next week I will write about a little bird!

Quinn said...

Amit- Kindness and compassion applied in generous amounts would go a lng way to solving the worlds ills

Patty- It so often happens to me that when I find myself struggling for a topic I will run across a post somewhere else and stat to comment, then I relies that I have hammered out about 500 words and think maybe I should talk about this. I am glad I could return some insperation.

Tess said...

Most of the time I live in a state of gratitude and kindness. I was bullied as a kid. Being one of ten I had old, mismatched hand me downs. My hair was unruly and I stood out in a "poor" way.

A very wealthy girl named Anne befriended me and would challenge the bullies. She was my friend for 4 years until she moved to the Virgin Islands. I'll never forget her. In fact I'd put her up with the top 10 most influential people in my life.

Many people are treated with kindness daily because of the love she showed me.

Tess said...

Hey Quinn,
Can you give me your email address through my contact page. I want to email you but when I click on contact us no address shows up.

Quinn said...

Hi Tess thanks for sharing your story with me. i too grew up with bullying in my life and know the power of having friends to protecht you and show you that there is more to your peers then shoving hands.

I can not seem to find a place to leve my email so i will leave it here. qconklin @ I will also fix the contact button right now.

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