Personal Development

What Is Kindness?

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once described Kindness as the golden chain by which society is bound.’

Generally, Kindness is the interaction that it starts with a feeling and extends to acting upon it! But how do we characterize Kindness? What motivates us to act upon our tender feelings? Acts of Kindness is deeply rooted in human nature and understanding its components gives us a framework on how to be cooperative and connected.

So what constitutes Kindness:

  • Kindness as benign tolerance translates into accepting and having compassion towards others. Sometimes, a slanted eyebrow, a concerned look, or a soft touch fulfill our social pact. Great apes spend hours a day grooming each other, even when there are no lice! Apes groom to forge alliances, reward generosity, or manage conflicts. 
Simone Fugazzotto Artwork
  • Kindness as principled pro-action, a behavior that is honorable and prompts objective measures for effective altruism. In 1873, Leo Tolstoy decided to stop writing Anna Karenina for a year to organize aid for the starving, “I cannot tear myself away from living creatures to bother about imaginary ones.” Many people thought it crazy that one of the finest novelists in the world would postpone one of his best works. But Tolstoy did not change his mind, and again in 1891, he spent two years raising money from around the world and working in a soup kitchen. 

 

  • Another aspect of Kindness is the empathetic responsiveness, which translates into considering other people’s feelings and doing the right thing – In 2013, Ivan Fernandez Anaya, Spanish Runner, intentionally lost the race to do the right thing. His opponent, Abel Mutai, mistakenly thought the end of the race came about 10 meters sooner than it did and stopped running. Fernandez gestured to El Pais to keep going! “I didn’t deserve to win it. I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn’t have closed if he hadn’t made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn’t going to pass him.” 

Occasionally, Kindness involves generating feelings of openness, humility, non-judgemental, and warmth towards one-self. The bottom line is that Kindness is critical for our species to survive, consequently, we have to make a mental note to embrace daily acts of Kindness. 

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