I’m on a mission to rehabilitate how we think about several words—and kindness is one of them!
Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution. ~Kahlil Gibran
Kindness, which is ever-renewable and costs nothing, is in short supply.
Frantic schedules, demanding bosses, too much to do with too little time for doing it, and the technology impacts of interacting with others via a device instead of person-to-person all play a role in the disappearance of kind acts.
Beyond all that, I also wonder if people don’t show kindness because they believe it makes them look weak. In a totally unscientific survey, I asked people what their impressions were of someone who was unfailing kind.
Many people shared their delight in being around people who were thoughtful, kind, and considerate.
Others, though, expressed negative opinions about people who were routinely courteous and compassionate because they perceive them to be weak, meek, and overly mild. Oh my goodness.
Getting clear on definitions
Let’s be clear. Weakness and kindness aren’t synonyms. Not even close.
Weakness is a “quality or feature regarded as a disadvantage, fault, lacking strength.” Think flaw. Defect. Failing. Shortcoming. Imperfection. Achilles heel. Foible.
Kindness is the “quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” Think warm-heartedness. Concern. Care. Consideration. Thoughtfulness. Unselfishness. Compassion. Understanding. Friendliness. Generosity.
Being warm-hearted and caring isn’t a flaw. It’s a way of being to which we all should aspire.
5 myths about kindness to put to rest
Now let’s debunk those faulty myths those confuse kind people with weak ones.
Kindness myth #1: Kind people are easy to take advantage of.
Myth buster reality: Being taken advantage of happens to those who are weak. Kind people recognize a slacker or manipulator when they see one. They’re the ones who are tactful and courteous as they stand their ground.
Kindness myth #2: Kind people don’t push back when others ignore them, are late, or fail to do as they committed.
Myth buster reality: Kind people don’t appreciate being ignored, kept waiting, or picking up the slack any less then someone who is cruel. They’re just more thoughtful and speak in a normal tone when reminding others of the importance of respecting boundaries and commitments, and displaying common courtesy.
Kindness myth #3: Kind people are afraid to say “no.”
Myth buster reality: Kind people absolutely say “no” and say it with style, grace, frequency, and conviction.
Kindness myth #4: Kind people always agree with everyone.
Myth buster reality: Kind people don’t blindly agree out of some fear of hurting someone’s feelings. They have self-respect and won’t box themselves into a corner just for the sake of surface peace and quiet. They disagree and do so graciously.
Kindness myth #5: Kind people never criticize anyone or anything.
Myth buster reality: Kind people care about doing things right, doing the right things, and developing others. Kind bosses practice tough empathy—they hold employees accountable and do so with compassion. They’re the ones who so affably point out the error of your ways that you thank them for doing so.
Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity. ~Buddha
Want to join me on my mission to rehabilitate how we think about people who are kind?
What messages about show kindness do you have to share?
Image credit before quote added: Pixabay