Earlier this month (13 November) was World Kindness Day. With this and Christmas fast approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness and what it means to be kind.
People have long understood the benefits of kindness for wellbeing. In recent years mental health experts have focused a lot on the topic, and a much earlier (say 2,000+ years) Buddhists taught the practise of loving kindness as a core principle of the religion.
Kindness makes you feel happier. Think about the last time someone was kind to you. How did that make you feel? Pretty nice I bet. Now think about the last time you were kind to someone else. I bet that also made you feel good.
Being kind toward others is thinking of yourself less and more about others. It helps to shift the focus from your own life, what people think of you, and how you perceive yourself, and allows you to simply be. We all have needs and wants, it’s only human, but being kind helps us to feel less wrapped up in these, which I reckon is what mindfulness aims to achieve.
Recently after being reunited with my family, I’ve been reminded that the tiny acts of kindness are just as important, if not more so than the big acts. Things like getting up a little earlier than my wife in the morning to make her a cup of tea, or laying with her and stroking her hair while she breastfeeds our little girl are the things she values most. I had forgotten this.
Being kind makes me feel good, it lifts my mood and helps take me out of myself. I’m resolving to continue to try to be as kind as person as I can.