The Magic of KindnessBy Dr. Margaret Paul
July 06, 2020
Kindness is magical regarding your own happiness!
"Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind." Eric Hoffer, 1902-1983, Author
Have you ever noticed that when you act kind, you feel kind? People often believe that they need to feel kind and compassionate before they can act kind and compassionate, but this is not true. Often it is choosing to act kind that fills the heart and soul with the wonderful feeling of kindness toward yourself and others.
Think about a natural disaster situation – a fire, a flood, an earthquake, a tsunami, a hurricane or tornado, and what’s currently occurring with COVID-19. Many people rush in to help, not waiting to feel kind before being kind. And in their acts of kindness, they feel full, expansive and fulfilled.
Perhaps we are wired to feel good within when we are being kind.
This doesn't just work with being kind to others – it also works with being kind to ourselves. The kinder and more compassionate we are to ourselves, the better we feel.
You don't have to wait to feel kind and compassionate toward yourself to be kind to yourself. You just have to want to.
What Might be in the Way of Wanting to be Kind?
Since kindness feels so good, how come we are not always kind with ourselves and others? Here are some of the false beliefs I've uncovered regarding why people might not be kind.
- If I'm kind, I will be used, taken advantage of, walked all over
Many people confuse kindness with weakness. In fact, the opposite is true: Kindness comes from the loving adult – not the wounded self. It is the wounded self who is weak and can be taken advantage of. The kinder we are to ourselves, the stronger and more worthy we feel, and the easier it is to be kind to others without giving ourselves up. It is never kind to ourselves or to others to allow others to use us and take advantage of us.
Being kind to ourselves and others gives us the strength to set loving limits against being used and taken advantage of. It's very sad to me that many people believe that kindness is weakness – and that harshness and judgmental-ness indicate strength. It is the wounded self who believes that strength lies in being a bully, while the loving adult knows that true strength is about feeling intrinsically worthy, which kindness fosters.
- If I’m kind to myself, I will not be motivated to do what I need to do. I have to be hard on myself to get myself to do things right.
All the research on self-compassion indicates the exact opposite – that the kinder you are to yourself, the more motivated you are to fully manifest yourself.
- If I’m kind to someone who has hurt me, then I'm condoning their behavior and letting them off the hook.
Kindness and condoning are two entirely different things. Kindness is something you do for yourself because it makes you feel good about yourself. You can be kind to someone and still not accept their unloving, destructive, or self-destructive behavior.
Kindness does not mean being 'nice' as opposed to being loving. It does not mean being unauthentic or not telling the truth. We can be very kind and still be authentically honest with someone who is being unloving to themselves, to others, or to us. Kindness means telling our truth without being judgmental.
- Why should I be kind to people who are not kind to me?
Do you really want others' behavior to determine who you are? Do you really want to be a weak, reactive person rather than a strong proactive person who decides for yourself the kind of person you want to be?
Why not give kindness a chance. You might be surprised at the magic of it!
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."
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One of the hardest feelings to feel is that of helplessness over others - over others being mean, judgmental, rejecting and not seeing you or valuing you. Most people would rather get angry, or judge themselves or others, rather than feel this very painful feeling. This feeling needs your deep compassion, which you can give yourself only when you fully accept that you are powerless over how others' feel and behave.
By Dr. Margaret Paul