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(3 minute read)

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama

It would seem today there is more than one kind of kindness going around. There’s choosy kindness where we are kind to those like us and dirty rats to those not. Then there’s opinionated kindness, where we are only kind to those who share our opinions and loathsome to those who don’t. Then there is the worst kind; those who declare themselves as the epitome of kindness yet when pressed they are revealed as charlatans. Yes, indeed we are full of pompous kindness.

Deep down all of us love kindness. We all can agree the world needs more kindness, but how do we make it authentic and not just some political phenomenon or catch phrase we use to sway people in our direction or worse yet banish them to outer darkness?

Here are 8 Paths to Authentic Kindness:

  1. Talk less and listen more. Stop listening to reply and listen with compassion.
  2. Stop being too busy to be kind. Kindness takes time.
  3. Smile. Some of the most tense and awkward social situations can be dissolved by a single genuine smile.
  4. Look up from the screen. Open your eyes to others. There are opportunities for kindness surrounding us every day. A kind word, a small deed, a helping hand, and once again a smile are all simple ways to dish out kindness by the bucketful.
  5. Humble yourself. We are a proud bunch of people. Pride is the predecessor of unkindness. Pride makes us think we are right with no chance of being wrong. Education level, geography, religion, and political stance can all be pillars of pride. Be careful when you start thinking you are smart, unkindness will be close behind. Who are the smart ones anyways?
  6. Seek to understand rather than to be understood. Realize everyone has a reason behind how they live, what they say, and their opinions. Seek to find out what their reason is. Chances are they are wrapped tight around their wounds, fears, and heartaches.
  7. Learn respect. Respect is a lost art these days. For you see respect does not equate with love, agreement, or support for ideas, or behaviors. Respect esteems another because of position. Whether that position is ruler of a nation, owner of a company, or as one of God’s creation.  In effect, if we are to be authentic in our kindness we will have respect for all; for all have a position in this world worthy of our respect.
  8. Do not express complex thoughts in blips such as texts, emails, social media and other forms of pseudo communication. There is no availability of further detail, and no tone of voice in these techniques. Therefore, there is no chance for two or more people understanding and sharing an idea, the point to be made will be misconstrued every time. Instead, seek to have long, deep, personal conversations with those who differ in thought. Of course you want to apply all the paths to authentic kindness to such a conversation.

Agreement is not required for kindness. Indeed kindness is always possible. However, it is not probable without taking the time it takes, having respect for others, and being humble in heart. Have the courage to be kind.

He who at all times agrees is weak minded and cruel. He who sometimes disagrees yet is kind is a true friend. – Jamie Cearley, PhD

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