The dictionary defines KINDNESS as “The quality of being friendly, generous, considerate. Of a sympathetic or helpful nature, gentle, affectionate, loving.”
“Be ye kind to one another” is in the scriptures, Ephesians 4:32. It is thought that Ephesians was written by the Apostle Paul around AD 62. Nearly 2000 years later, it is still really good advice.
Charles Darwin suggested that our human nature is to be caring. We may think that survival of the fittest is to be competitive and selfish, but Darwin argues that we are a social and caring species. Modern researchers agree.
Science shows that kindness is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in a marriage. There’s evidence showing the more someone receives or witnesses kindness, the more they will be kind themselves, which leads to upward spirals of love and generosity in a relationship. “Even in relationships where people are frustrated, it’s almost always the case that there are positive things going on and people trying to do the right thing,€ said psychologist Ty Tashiro. €œA lot of times, a partner is trying to do the right thing even if it’s executed poorly. So appreciate the intent.€
Harvard is highlighting KINDNESS on applications for admission. A Harvard study, almost 80 years old (since 1938!) proved that embracing community helps us live longer, and be happier. A recent study described how others feel after doing acts of kindness and researchers found that being kind to ourselves or anyone else or even just observing kindness boosted happiness. Have you ever tried doing random acts of kindness? Paying for the car behind you in a drive-thru, giving out flowers to strangers, give someone a compliment- they really do lift your spirits! Shawn Achor studied happiness at Harvard and wrote a book, “The Happiness Advantage”. It’s about positive psychology and one of my favorite books, I bet you would love it!
How can we practice kindness? Being kind to yourself is the first step. Give yourself a break and talk nicely to yourself. Then you are ready to help others.It can be as simple as holding open a door for others, takinga pic for someone, celebrating someone else’s success, grabbing something high on the shelf at a store for someone who is short- like me!
Remember everyone has challenges. Nobody’s life is perfect. Most things are hidden from others. What helps me the most all day, every day, is to truly believe this: Everyone is doing the best they can with the tools they have been given. This is a great way to practice kindness with yourself and everyone else!
No matter who you want to take the advice from- the scriptures, philosophers, scientists or your mom, it looks like everyone agrees that we need to CHOOSE KINDNESS!
Fun articles to read:
Couples in kindness.
Book by Shawn Achor