Why Kindness Matters
The Dali llama has been quoted as saying
“Kindness is my religion”
Now although this is a beautiful statement by a very special man, I have to admit I was irritated when I read this quote. Not because of any other reason than it had always been my own mantra and I thought I had got there first ! Kindness was the only rule I had for my children (apart from drink lots of water ) and my own personal belief .
So why was I annoyed ? and yes, I realise it wasn’t very kind of me or even sane to assume that he was plagiaristic ! It put a whole new meaning onto my own beliefs . Always think kind thoughts until someone annoys you !!!
You see that’s the problem with kindness – its hard to keep going all the time .
Anyway, I realised very quickly that the Dalai Lama had got to this kindness conclusion first and I have a sneeky suspicion now as I write this that I probably read his kindness quote somewhere and subliminally posted it into my mind as my own. The media is powerful for good and bad I suppose and his media is far greater than mine !
Just as well .
Nine Good Reasons to Be Kind
Being kind is not always easy and we are all work in progress .
So, I am going to give you nine good reasons why kindness is good for you to encourage us all to work towards the Dali Lama’s fine example.
1. Being kind means that people are usually kind to you. It’s a very happy circle. Be kind and people are kind back. It doesn’t always happen but is more likely than if you are mean. People like to mirror thoughts, emotions and actions . We are wired that way for survival. We match and mirror so we can fit into society and have lots of allies for those times of need . We can’t help it we are a primitive body with a sophisticated brain and a confused mind. So even if you don’t feel like being kind remember that being kind is a habit as well as a character trait . You can train yourself to think kind thoughts . I know I’m a mediating bore — but it has to be said that meditation is a good way to start thinking kind thoughts .
Try the loving kindness meditation ..Ill write one up for you in the next few weeks . .
2. Being kind brings you as much reward as the kind recipient. Making people happy releases chemicals from the brain and gut that help to reinforce social adherence and communities. These chemicals foster a warm, safe, connected feeling. Our emotions are fired by chemicals and if you can fire the happy, stress free ones by being kind why wouldnt you ?
oxytocin—– the hug chemical —- lowers blood pressure and is protective for the cardiovascular system as well as reducing inflammation and stress which can help to keep you younger and healthier.
Dopamine —- the happy hormone —- helps to keep you motivated when you recieve a reward such as a smile and a feeling of connectivety.
Seratonin—- reduces stress and a low level is said to contribute to depression.
3. Being kind to the next generation teaches them that kindness matters. So be kind to the children – they will follow your lead and be kind to their contemporries and gain good friends . Not only does this mean they will have lots of support when the self absorbed teenage hormones do their best work but it means that the next generation might be kind enough to mop up the mess we have made .
4. Kindness means sharing. If we all shared a bit more there would be no poverty. Without poverty there would be no lack and fear of survival. Without the fear of survival there would be less cortisol and adrenaline flying around reducing aggresion and stress.
I’m not overstating this in my view when I say that the world would be largely fixed if we all shared. There is enough on this planet for everyone.
5. Kindness always starts with a smile. Whether it’s inside or outside. You can’t be kind with a frown or mean thoughts. That’s just the way the body works. Smiling releases happy chemicals and its ok to fake it until you make it. The act of smiling even when you don’t feel like it has the same effect . The mind perceives that all is well if you contort your face into a smile and releases dopamine and serotonin. The body speaks through emotions which end up as actions . A lovely yoga method is to smile through your stomach .This really does work — So next time you need cheering up imagine a big smile gently opening up in your stomach and notice how this makes you feel . There is some scientific evidence for this now as it has been found that most of our serotonin is released from our stomach so maybe its not as crazy as it sounds !!
Another great thing about smiling kindly at people is that smiling gives you good lines not bad lines, probably a small point but may encourage us to be kind more — and isn’t it nice to see an older person with a kindly face .
6. Being kind can be a purpose in itself. If you are struggling with the meaning of life why not try just being kind to the people in your world.
It’s meaning enough and the world will seem a brighter place. Kindness stops this crazy competitive nature that’s infested our world. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be the best you can be and achieve great things but, there is something wrong with the very unkind act of wanting to win purely to beat the other person. Success then becomes an empty vessel with no meaning.
Find your success in a kindly way and it will have meaning and purpose
7. Kindness cements trust and friendship buiding strong communities . It has been found that lving and working in an environmnt with strong relationships and support communities is one of the biggest factors in the pursuit of happiness. Kindness and strong communities sit together -they are symbiotic. Positive communities are always kind to each other and kind communities communicate in a positive way.
8. Kindness takes strength and builds resilience. My lovely little nan was the kindest and strongest person I knew. The two are beautiful friends and create a beautiful soul. It’s easier to be mean and judgemental sometimes because it justifies our actions and beliefs. Being kind all the time can take a lot of inner strength and fortitude, at least until it becomes a habit. The real test of strength is to be kind even when you know that there will be no kindness coming back your way . There is a stregth and resilience in this that empowers you to do the right thing whatever the consequences .
A kind person sits with a settled soul and is at peace.
9. Being kind to yourself makes you a happier person and stops you waiting and expecting for someone to save you. People can support you with their kind ways but really the only person who can save you from your own self directed unkind thoughts is you . If you were to spend just an hour of the day thinking about the messages you say to yourself you may be surprised at how unkind you are to you .
So to help with his Try the mirror exercise in the morning. Take 5 minutes out to smile at yourself in the mirror and repeat I love you , I Love you You may feel a bit silly but you will feel even sillier if at the end of your life you haven’t taken the time to care about yourself. You really need to be your own best friend . Be warned though that when this is done properly and with heart it can make you cry. Why you may ask , well just because really the person in the world you desire the kindness off the most is you and sometimes the last person you are kind to is you .
So really all it takes is to be kind to yourself and all others and the world can be a much happier place .
Kindness is contagious