8 Characteristics of Kindness

While researching this week’s kindness challenge blog post, I came across this intelligent, detailed piece on kindness. Had to share it!

Fruitful Words

When weary it is hard to be kind. So do what it takes to recharge. It is important to connect with safe people.

I recently found my notes from a “kindness” simulcast I attended. Several years ago (Sept 19, 2010) a group of CNC ladies heard Beth Moore at a simulcast hosted by Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church. Beth talked about kindness. Her main text was Proverbs 31:26.

The notes I took are just as applicable today as they were then.

Part One, Kindness is Valuable, Influential, & Contagious, talked about two reasons we need to be kind and talked about our need to be responsible with our words, spoken and written.

This part, Part Two, will share Beth’s eight characteristics of kindness. I have added some of my own reflections s well.

  1. Kindness is not a weakness. Beth talked about the difference between kindness and being nice. The Latin definition of nice…

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Kindness Without Expectation – Week 6, Kindness Challenge

Week 6 kindnessMission for week 6 of the Kindness Challenge: To participate in kindness without expectation. This loving directive taught me two substantial lessons!

The first important lesson learned is I don’t have expectations around kindness reciprocity. I’m not a saint or anything close to one. It’s just that feeling positive emotions is my nature. I derive no pleasure from typical negative campaigns, like misery loves company or the idea that people are smart if they are critical. Stepping away from miserable company and believing intelligence or smartness comes from curiosity and wonder…is how I roll.

What does this have to do with kindness without expectation you wonder? It’s that I’m generally kind because it feels good. Whether the person I’m extending kindness toward notices or not. One of the easiest ways to feel good is to act in a warm, kind manner toward others.

My second lesson entailed quietly contributing to paying a portion of someone’s dinner. I witnessed my happy, pleased feelings as I slyly slid the money toward the collector.  I distracted the gifted person by turning her attention to something meaningless. When she was confused about her role in paying her portion of the bill, I calmly explained that all was well and there was nothing more for her to do.  These few minutes of my life, proved to me how wonderful and heart swelling it feels to be kind without expectation.

Mission: Accomplished!

 

Choosing Kindness Shares Joy – Kindness Challenge, Week 5

choosing kindnessWeek 5 of the Kindness Challenge Niki asked us to choose kindness while living our lives. Easy enough! But, instead I missed a kindness opportunity. Luckily, found a quote that shined a profound light on why to choose kindness.

My missed opportunity took place on the treadmill next to me at the gym. A kind and lovely woman asked if the gym was always this crowded. Wrapped in this simple question was an apologetic tone, as she quietly explained it was her first day using the gym’s equipment. Politely I answered her questions, never acknowledging that I wasn’t bothered by her inquiry.

Later, I realized I could’ve elevated this exchange by choosing kindness thru being her cheerleader. Simply expressing positive reinforcement about her heathy choice to exercise. And maybe asking what brought about this new lifestyle. This gesture to welcome her to gym and welcome her to the “club” of people who decided to exercise would have been choosing kindness. But I didn’t…I didn’t choose kindness. I chose to stare at the television, distracting myself while jogging on the treadmill.

This negative behavior of mine started me wondering what I thought choosing kindness meant. My intuition started this internal probe thru a sensation of unfulfillment. Lacking clarity I started to sense it wasn’t just about being nice, sort of an absent minded disconnected action like, picking up something that someone dropped or holding open a door for someone while talking on my cell phone. I’m not minimizing these helpful actions but I intuited there was something deeper at work when choosing kindness. But what…

 Magically, while scrolling thru Twitter, I read the message that my intuition was preparing me for.

“Release the joy that is inside another and you will release the joy that is inside of you.”

This quote named the unclear sensation and brought the deeper awareness of choosing kindness to my consciousness. Choosing kindness created a connection thru joy.

With this knowledge, I imagined the potential outcome if I had simply said, “Welcome, to the gym.”, or “Good for you for caring for yourself.” or “What led you to this choice?”. I can see her shy smile forming. She becomes a smidge vulnerable to release some joy at a stranger’s heartfelt words to positively acknowledge her effort. This exchange, that I could have initiated, would’ve created an opening thru kindness to feel some joy. According to the quote, we would both be richer for the moment. But none of that happened….

 

 

 

A Cup of Kindness Runneth Over – Kindness Challenge, Week 4

kindnessrolemodelMy initial effort to find a kindness role model for week 4 of the Kindness Challenge nosedived. This flop became a lesson relearned in Coffee, Dark – Kindness Challenge week 4. I was reminded that kindness surrounds me and my simple and easy task is to allow it into my life. And as soon as I opened to the kindness in my life, a kindness role model appeared.

It became evident that she was a kindness role model as I was driving to meet her. I noticed that I felt a sense of peace and contentment. As the trees passed along the route, I pondered how these feelings revealed that kindness was part of this person. Reflecting on our past interactions, she demonstrated kindness when she deeply listened, contributed valuable feedback, or responded authentically.

After the hellos, we organically engaged in a meaningful and deep conversation. Allowing each other to correct ourselves if our words didn’t clearly define our experience while providing gentle and honest advice, feedback, and or guidance whether it involved offering a restaurant idea or a suggesting a differing point of view. Throughout our visit, I experienced the same feelings of emotional safety, enjoyment, and peace as when I was driving to her house.

Once again as I was driving home I contemplated her kindness and its personal effect. I felt lighter than when I arrived, cleaner somehow. While winding thru the back roads, I couldn’t help smiling when the adage, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” popped into my mind. This student, ready to learn, received her kindness teacher’s example of generosity, benevolence, and presence, woven into gentle, thoughtful, and caring behaviors and words. A kindness role model, indeed!

Coffee, Dark – Kindness Challenge, Week 4

coffee dark Week 4 of the Kindness Challenge is all about Kindness Role Models. Those people of a friendly, considerate, and generous nature who we can imitate…if, we are open.

I spend time each day in a cozy, warm, and friendly coffee shop in a boat yard on a river. The staff and owners playfully chide me about something or other or we chat about what is happening lately in our riverside town. The regulars, I’m one of them, exchange pleasantries and heart felt interest in the big and small expected and planned changes in a person’s life. There is a playful and energetic hum of customer conversations and customer and staff interactions. Obviously, this environment has a good vibe. The people are good people. It’s the norm. A norm that I enjoy and I’m grateful for. Clearly, I place where I can find a long list of kindness role models.

But, as I sip my satisfying hot coffee and munch on my whole wheat bagel with peanut butter…in a sea of kindness role models, I can’t identify kind behavior and don’t feel the safety, warmth, and joyfulness of kindness. As I look around this hubbub of coffee drinking all I can feel is a cranky, irritated, got up on the wrong side of the bed kinda feelin’. I can’t fully identify the kindness role models and see their loving and generous behavior because my dark, cranky self has blocked the lovely energy and blinds me to all the goodness I’m sitting in the middle of.  To find kindness role models, I must bring my openness and kindness to the table. Lesson learned!