Be Compassionate Do Kindness

It’s the official world kindness day. Often this has plagued what exactly do we mean by kindness? How is it different from compassion? To me, words like charity, kindness always reeked of certain amount of righteousness.

Kuan Yin Japanese Goddess of Kindness. Courtesy internet.

Merriam-webster gives three options, a state of being kind. Where we treat people with kindness and respect. That is another word that challenges me respect! Let’s get to it another time. But kind can also be a deed, which means there is a favour bestowed. Finally, it could mean affection.

Like it wasn’t enough I looked up the meaning of the word kind that opened the Pandora’s box.

While I mused over this what I eventually came to was, Kindness is an action, a behavioural way which others could see. It was essentially a social signal, that had affection, warmth and playfulness.  This was a space that allowed us to admit that we were wrong and reconnect with others.  It modelled openness and humility. It allowed us to question ourselves and stay engaged with others to promote social connections.  Kindness allows us to be who we are yet be part of a diverse life, our values remain intact while we are able to accept the values of others.

Kindness, in a sense allows us to promote well being of others and if we do it without expecting anything in return it helps our well being too.

Compassion I figure is an inner experience. It can be towards one’s own self or towards the other. This embodies the quality of concern, and sympathy. It allows us to be non-judgemental and accepting.  Compassion is that understanding all creatures go through pain, some suffer, some ask for help some resolve it for themselves and each is right it his or her own space.

Since humans are about doing, more than feeling and observing, kindness becomes the manifestation or the visible projection of compassion. Kindness would be something that puts a smile on the other.

Interestingly a professor of mine had a take that people tend to resent the person who is kind or overtly helpful. Specially if the help is rendered without asking, because it puts the receiver in the place of being powerless.

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” –Lao-Tzu

If like me you are sceptic then you can try these suggestions from the world kindness day summit.

Smile when you walk by others

Write positive messages on post-it notes and leave them for people to find

Call a relative you haven’t spoken to in a while

Tidy up around your house

Pick up trash you see on the ground outside and throw it in a garbage can

Hold the door open for someone

Chat with a stranger and ask them about their day

Pay for a stranger’s coffee or meal

Compliment someone

Send a positive or encouraging text to five people in your contacts

Surprise someone with flowers

Tell a family member or friend you love them

Write a note on the receipt at a restaurant for your server

Offer to help with someone’s errands

Give a surprise gift to someone you care about

Send a kind card or note to a friend

Surprise co-workers with home-baked cookies or treats

Plant a tree

Spend less time on your phone and more time with people you care about

Organize a workplace giving campaign

Offer a classmate help with homework

Talk to someone new

Practice gratitude


Give someone a hug

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