August 25th, 2017
In society’s turbulent climate, the act of kindness seems to be a lost art. Kindness take work. Being kind also takes a strong sense of self and a vulnerability to give something of yourself to others without need for attention, acknowledgement or reciprocity. Studies have indicated that practicing kindness has been linked to greater life satisfaction, deeper, meaningful relationships and better mental and physical health. Many times we interchange the word kind for nice, but they are in fact two opposite adjectives to describe people. Kindness involves the essence of one’s character, whereas nice can be used to describe someone who is good-natured or outwardly friendly. However, extreme niceness can mask a personal inadequacy or a need for acceptance and validation and may not encompass compassion or generosity. According to the dictionary, the definition of “kind” is having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature. The synonyms of kind is kindly, good-natured, kindhearted, warmhearted, caring, loving, warm. On the other hand, the definition of nice is pleasant in manner or good natured and synonyms include likable, agreeable, personable, congenial, amiable, affable, genial, friendly, charming,
Kindness runs deep – it is the core of one’s self, a personality trait that manifests itself in empathy, understanding and compassion. On the other hand, niceness is superficial, doesn’t require much effort – although, unfortunately, some don’t even have the capacity for niceness, and tends to be rooted in a need for something from others. Don’t get me wrong, niceness is needed for basic human decency, but to really build a connection with others, kindness must be the foundation.
While it may take effort to be kind, your kindness factor can be learned and cultivated. Below are suggestions for doing that:
Today, where internet trolling is rampant, bullying is a problem at many schools and mean girls are commonplace, random acts of kindness, as well as treating others with empathy and compassion can literally change the world.
Erin Swinson, LPC, LMHCA, NCC Therapist Clarity Clinic
Dixon, A. (2011). Kindness Makes You Happy…..and Happiness Makes you Kind. Retrieved on August 18, 2017 from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/kindness_makes_you_happy_and_happiness_makes_you_kind
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