“Be kind whenever possible, it is always possible” – Dalai Lama
Many of us are kind without even knowing it because it is the simplest attribute that we carry. We don’t need to be calculative and rational to show kindness towards others which can be the case when you are influenced by the emotions like suspicion, jealousy, and manipulation. And, still, the world witnesses a lack of kindness and compassion. The answer to this irony lies in one of the interviews of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, where he beautifully mentioned that “Our human nature has been distorted.” Society has pushed our thinking to be self-centred but we should actually be thinking of the collective.
Kindness is considered to be a luxury because the societal belief that the entire world is ‘red in tooth and claw’, and everyone is merely busy defeating others. This sentiment can never be entirely true because if a war-prone area is exemplifying the ruthlessness of troops, it is also the place where organizations like the Red Cross are showing impeccable examples of kindness and compassion. The world will always look dark and gloomy if you judge your life with a “glass half-empty” mindset, as opposed to a “glass half-full” mindset.”In rethinking the false beliefs and stereotypes about kindness, a world full of kindness emerges from our perceived lack of knowledge about ourselves and the world around us. We may focus on others’ ideas and ways of behaving but will never give time to our ideas and perceptions. We may read a whole book of great philosophers but will never work on our philosophies. Why are we not able to understand that if we are having emotions like grief, sadness, frustration, envy, arrogance, and selfishness, we are also a reservoir of joy, happiness, kindness, compassion, politeness, and selflessness?
Kindness for others begins when we are kind to ourselves when we realise that we possess positive attributes and, most importantly, when we start accepting ourselves and our life the way it is.
Being kind to ourselves does not include becoming selfish and self-obsessed, but self-kindness entails recognizing the real meaning of our existence, which does not mean following a pyramid of achievements but achieving a true sense of satisfaction. Therefore, a journey of acquainting ourselves with our true selves is essential to bring out kindness for others.
A self-realization process will not only make us aware of our hidden kindness but will also help in adopting a wider perspective on life, the perspective that emphasizes that “without love, there can never be grief.” This way, we can show kindness to ourselves by processing our pain effectively and experiencing joy in the process.
Unless we have self-compassion, we can never show kindness to others. Psychologist, Kristin Neff, also mentions that when we treat ourselves with compassion, we begin a true process of discovering a world full of kindness because kindness has to be felt within our soul to be felt for others.
Let’s cultivate “the art of introspection” to bring out a world full of kindness around us!