There’s a lot of talk ab0ut “Be Kind” on the Internet and Facebook. But do they really know what the word means? Curious to see if I did, I searched online for definitions. Here’s what I found:
In the Free Dictionary, “kind” means: “1. of a good or benevolent nature or disposition, as a person. 2. having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence: kind words. 3. considerate or helpful; humane.”
I’m fairly sure most people think that’s what the word means. But there’s more to it if you ask, “What is the meaning of being kind?”
According to the Cambridge dictionary, “being kind” means being “generous, helpful, and thinking about other people’s feelings.” And The Odyssey Online dot com states that “Being kind means having empathy and/or sympathy.”
Next, I asked, “Who is a kind person?” and got this from Quora dot com: “A kind person, in reality, is someone with the interest of the affected person in mind, while taking any action or making any opinion.
Finally, I read an article in Psychology Today’s online blog and was curious about the sentence, “Being kind often requires courage and strength.” So I kept reading:
“You’ve heard about survival of the fittest and Darwin. Survival of the fittest is usually associated with selfishness, meaning that to survive (a basic instinct) means to look out for yourself. But Darwin, who studied human evolution, actually didn’t see mankind as being biologically competitive and self-interested. Darwin believed that we are a profoundly social and caring species. He argued that sympathy and caring for others is instinctual (DiSalvo, Scientific American, 2017).
Current research supports this idea. Science has now shown that devoting resources to others, rather than having more and more for yourself, brings about lasting well-being. Kindness has been found by researchers to be the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in a marriage. Many colleges, including Harvard, are now emphasizing kindness on applications for admission.
There are different ways to practice kindness. One way to be kind is to open your eyes and be active when you see people in need. Do you notice when people could use a helping hand? A sense of community is created when people are kind to those who need help.
Opening your eyes means noticing when others are suffering. A kind word, a smile, opening a door, or helping carry a heavy load can all be acts of kindness. Celebrating someone you love, giving honest compliments, sending an email thanking someone, telling someone how s/he is special to you, helping an elderly neighbor with yard work or food, taking a photo of someone and sending it to the person, sharing homemade food, refusing to gossip, and donating old clothing and things you don’t need are all ideas about how to practice kindness.”
No one is perfect. Even with the best of intentions, we hurt other people without even knowing it. But if we can imagine being in their shoes, we’re more likely to be kind.
Image credit: “Emily’s Quotes” on HoodMemorial.org
Author’s note: The four-paragraph excerpt from Psychology Today was treated like a continued quote in a novel because “block-quote” is no longer an option on WP. Most highlighting was done by sources quoted.
Till next time,
Please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi