Kind Is The New Black:
It Goes With Everything.
Kindness is an amazing quality. It has the power to calm people down, focus on solutions instead of looking for an argument plus it is a very good pal of empathy.
Kindness goes with everything. Unless, we only live one half of kindness or believe it is a one-way street. If we do so, we transform kindness into an always grinning, nodding, agreeing, pale shadow of itself that weakens its owners and ignores their needs until exhaustion. There needs to be a balance between active (strong) and passive (gentle), as well as in and out. Let’s look at the two directions in which kindness needs to flow in order to fully nourish everyone (including its owner) plus the two aspects, of kindness that, when united, are an extremely strong ally to reach our goals.
Two Directions: Out + In
Being kind to others, obviously, is one direction in which kindness should flow. When we start practicing kindness every day in every situation, we feel so empowered and fulfilled. Being this person who lifts others up when they are down, who supports and encourages and hugs and smiles, that’s an amazing feeling.
And yes, we want to allow ourselves to bathe in this feeling because kindness is no one-way street. It is supposed to flow from us and back into ourselves. It doesn’t exclude anyone. Do you allow kindness to flow in both directions? Be kind to others. Check. Be kind to yourself. Hmmm… Do you know this feeling? Sometimes we forget about our own needs and our own boundaries. We are there for everyone any time but we leave ourselves behind. It is amazing how kind we can be with others and when it comes to ourselves, we can be so hard and unforgiving.
Do you find yourself practicing kindness but again and again end up being exhausted? If so, continue spreading kindness but also begin to take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself. If you have to say „no“ every now and then because you need time to recharge yourself, it is ok. Respect your needs, boundaries and energy level. If you exhaust yourself, you’ll have no energy left to spread your wonderful kindness in the years to come and you can’t help anyone any more. Kindness is a wholesome concept that nourishes everyone, including the person sharing kindness.
Two Aspects: Gentle + Strong
Ok, so kindness is a two way street: flowing outwards and inwards. We are kind to others and kind to ourselves. Now let’s look at the two aspects of kindness. What two aspects? Well, there is the obvious one: A smiling, helpful, polite and genuinely caring person. Being this person ourselves and being among such people feels amazing and is a true blessing. But are you ready to face the second aspect?
Be warned. This second half of kindness doesn’t feel as amazing as the gentle and smiling positivity loaded kindness we usually strive to live. In fact, the kindest people I know are often the ones feeling like they are being too hard and should be more supportive. Where could this come from, I wonder? Maybe that’s because they already embrace both aspects of kindness: The gentle one: the clean-cut celebrity, the always happy and smiling, loved by all-kind of kindness, as well as her twin sister hiding in the shadows.
Let’s ask the second aspect, the twin sister, to come forth and show her face, because she is a beauty! (Yes, it’s Matt Smith in my head… love you 11th). So, how and when do we come across her in our everyday life?
Think of your kids. Do you send them to school every day? Yes, of course. Do they always love to go? Nope. But still, you make them go every day. Does it feel amazing? Nope. Instead of sending them to school, we would rather take them on a holiday and allow them to eat tons of ice-cream all day. That’s kindness the way we love it. But instead, we send our kids to school. This too is kindness even though it doesn’t feel amazing.
Or let’s have a look at our workout. Do you run or train in any way? It isn’t fun to get up and start a sweaty workout when the voice in your head tells you that it would be so much nicer to stay on the couch and rest. We don’t feel particularly kind when we are gasping on the mat or treadmill, don’t we? But would it be kinder to not move the body and rest all the time? No. Being kind to the body means to give it what it needs to stay healthy: a mix of movement, stretching and rest. It is neither kind to let the body rest all the time nor to never let it relax. It is about balance. The sisters have to walk hand in hand: One aspect of kindness can motivate us to get up and do what needs to be done in order to be healthy and happy, while the other one protects us from overdoing a good thing, being too hard on ourselves or get hurt.
And now let’s have a look at our social life. Have you ever heard something like: „You are always pretending to be so kind but now…(please fill in a complaint claiming to prove the lack of your kindness)“. It seems that some people mistake kindness for a sign on your back that says: „However you treat me, I will keep smiling and not stand up for myself.“ Saying „yes“ to everything and letting people treat you badly has nothing to do with kindness. If this happens to you, you may want to embrace the second side of kindness and make inner peace with saying „no“ every now and then and standing up for yourself. Kindness doesn’t make us weak. It doesn’t force us to keep smiling when we are being overlooked or treated badly.
When we practice both aspects of kindness on ourselves – like during sports – we can find out where we should believe in ourselves more and release new potential but also, we learn about where we need to stop and respect our natural limits. When we begin to respect our own personal boundaries, it is much easier to communicate them to others and they will treat us differently.
In no particular order, these four combined unleash the full potential of kindness.
- Go on supporting others and please share every gesture and word of kindness possible. In fact, be as generous as can be with sharing kindness. Your kindness can transform the world.
- Make sure you include yourself and treat yourself kindly, too.
- Enjoy the obvious, gentle side of kindness that allows you to take a break and recharge.
- Embrace the less obvious, strong side that keeps you going and reach your goals.
Kind is the new black.
It suits everyone.
It never gets out of style.
It goes with everything.