What in the world does it mean to be kind

What In The World Does It Mean To Be Kind?

 

Many say our world needs more kindness. But what does it really mean to be kind? Is it just being nice instead of being mean? Being nice doesn’t sound world changing to me. True kindness must be something deeper.

 

CHANGING THE WORLD THROUGH KINDNESS

I delved into the meaning of kindness when I discovered a thing called World Kindness Day. It was started by the World Kindness Movement in 1997.

Its mission is to inspire individuals and nations to create a kinder world through establishing independent kindness programs and projects in cities, schools, and communities across the globe. (source)

It’s celebrated on November 13th in over 28 countries with events, awards, concerts, and “declarations of kindness”.

World Kindness Day is to highlight good deeds in the community focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness which binds us…it is a day that encourages individuals to overlook boundaries, race and religion. (source)

 

While contemplating World Kindness Day I thought to myself – Why just one day? I know it’s great to spread awareness but can’t we do more. Why not be generous and practice kindness all the time?

 

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

 

Then I looked up kindness in the dictionary.

 

HOW KINDNESS IS DEFINED

Did I find my definition of kindness as being nice instead of mean? Yes and no.

Kindness is the quality of being gentle, caring and helpful.

Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. (emphasis mine)

You could say that being friendly and considerate is being nice but kindness is more. Kindness is generous.

Kindness isn’t something you’re generous with. Kindness IS inherently generous. To be kind is to be generous.

But isn’t being generous just about money? What is generosity then?

Generosity is giving more of what is usual or expected.

Generosity – free from meanness or smallness of mind or character; magnanimous (aka forgiving)

Generosity is the quality of being kind and generous. The quality or fact of being plentiful or large.

Generosity is a quality – like unselfishness, honesty and patience. When you show generosity, you might give away things or money or put others before yourself. But generosity is about more than cash and stuff. When you’re forgiving and gentle to people, you show generosity of spirit. If you give others help or credit, that shows generosity. The world would certainly be a better place if more people showed generosity to others. (emphasis mine)

Kindness (as well as generosity) is defined as a quality of being.

Kindness (as well as generosity) is defined as a quality of being. Click To Tweet

 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE KIND?

Being kind is not only being nice instead of being mean, it’s being nice in the face of meanness. It’s considerate, gracious, and forgiving.

 

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.Ephesians 4:32

 

Being kind is going the extra mile in helpfulness, demonstrating a generosity of spirit. A generous spirit is quick to help in whatever is needed.

Being kind is showing love because love is kind.

Being kind is showing love because love is kind. Click To Tweet

 

BEING KIND

We don’t always feel like being kind or loving. But we can overcome. We can develop a kind and generous spirit through practice.

 

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier. ― Mother Teresa

 

Here are 30 ways to practice love and kindness.

I’ve done many of these and maybe you have too. Read through the list and then see below.

  1. Pick up litter
  2. Donate food
  3. Drop off a blanket at a homeless shelter
  4. Donate toys
  5. Donate books to the library
  6. Smile at everyone you see
  7. Clean up after yourself
  8. Bring someone a meal
  9. Let someone in front of you in traffic
  10. Give a secret gift
  11. Bring coffee/tea or cocoa to a friend
  12. Give out free hugs
  13. Volunteer
  14. Call or facetime a loved one who lives far away
  15. Pay for someone’s order behind you in the drive through
  16. Send a handwritten note
  17. Walk a dog
  18. Put up sticky notes of positive words in public bathrooms
  19. Hold a door open
  20. Send flowers
  21. Babysit
  22. Bring bagels to work
  23. Leave quarters at the laundromat
  24. Leave your biggest tip ever
  25. When you say hi how are you, listen for the answer
  26. Rake leaves
  27. Take cookies to a neighbor
  28. Say hello to a stranger
  29. Mow a lawn
  30. Offer to help an elderly neighbor

click here for PDF of list

Here are 30 ways to practice love and kindness. Click To Tweet

NOW WHAT

  • Have you done something on the list? Let me know and let’s celebrate together.
  • Pick one or more things from the list to practice.  (Something you’ve never done before.)
  • Print out the list for reference and/or make a list of your own.
  • Fill your love tank so you can pour love into others get this.

 

 

 

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10 thoughts on “What In The World Does It Mean To Be Kind?

  1. Hi Bernadette,
    Oops, I only managed seven on your list. (The easy ones, I guess.)
    It’s interesting, the timing of your “practical kindness” post. I fine-tuned my manifesto last night and one of the things I mentioned was the dire lack of compassion in the world, and having it as one of my writing goals to change that.
    As your writing does here—compels the reader to pause and reflect, smile, reflect on the day and follow some of your actionable steps.
    It reminds me of a silly story we were told as children: the teacher asked her class to provide her with examples of the difference between kindness and loving kindness. No one said a word. Eventually little Johnny raised his hand. “Ma’am, if I’m hungry and you give me a slice of bread, that’s kindness. But if you put butter and jam on the bread, then it’s loving kindness!”
    Thank you for the post, Danielle!

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Danie!
      I wouldn’t say “oops” to having done 7 things on that list – I’d say do a happy dance! Celebrate every victory.

      Thank you for your kind words about my writing. I’m happy to hear my words speak to you and are helpful.

      Thanks for sharing that story of the little boy. Cute. We can always learn from children.

Please share your thoughts!