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KINDNESS – by Lauren van Rooyen

A four letter word that carries so much meaning, so much weight and responsibility you would think people would take it a little more seriously. To be KIND should come as second nature yet we find ourselves in an era where life is coming at you 100 miles an hour and stopping to be kind is considered a liability.

I have always maintained that “Kindness is the Key to Change”, especially now when the world seems a little more hostile and many are suffering from anxiety, depression, financial pressure, relationship issues, and and and…….

Yet among all the chaos that is unfolding, we have the power to be that little ray of light that shines softly on someone’s face – that warm, comforting morning sun that peeks through the clouds on a rainy day to kiss your cheeks with its glorious aura. We have the choice to be someone’s rainbow during their scariest of storms. It all begins with simple acts of kindness.

Let us take a few steps back. Before we can begin to be kind we need to fully understand its meaning. According to the Oxford dictionary, “kind” has the following definition: the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

I love this definition. These are all qualities I admire in women amongst others. So how can you improve on being more friendly, generous and considerate in your efforts to be kinder?

One thing’s for certain – acts of kindness have a profound effect on the person giving and the one receiving. Pause for a moment and think about the last time someone was kind to you. How did it make you feel and how did you respond? Now think of a time you were the one being kind – how did the recipient react and how did that make you feel? Acts of kindness have a magical effect on your heart, both when you give or receive even the simplest acts of kindness.

We have all heard the saying, “it’s survival of the fittest”. This train of thought is usually associated with a me, myself and I attitude, laced with selfishness, power and greed.

I read a very interesting article the other day by Karyn Hall about kindness. Karyn has a Ph.D. and is the author of the book – “The Emotionally Sensitive Person, Mindfulness Exercise” and co-author of – The Power of Validation”. Let me share with you what she had to say.

She speaks about how Darwin, who had studied human evolution, did not see humans as being biologically competitive and self-interested. So how proactive is adopting a mindset of survival? You see, Darwin believed that as humans we are a profoundly social and caring species. He argued that sympathy and caring for others is instinctual (DiSalvo, Scientific America, 2017)

This is where it gets even more interesting. Karyn goes on to say how current research supports this idea. Science has now shown that devoting resources to others, rather than having more and more for yourself, brings about lasting well-being. Kindness has been shown by researches to be the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in a marriage. Furthermore many institutions, including Harvard, are now emphasizing kindness on applications for admission.

I am sure we can all agree that when people you interact with daily are treating you with kindness, you have a far happier and more productive day. But here’s the fine print in this story – “What you sow is what you reap”! The more you practice kindness the more it comes back to you.

So let us go back to my earlier question – How do you become a kinder person and in turn live a more satisfying life?

Acts of kindness comes in all shapes and forms, ranging from good manners and courtesy by being polite and respectful to everyone around you. This includes your children, your spouse, your parents, your friends, people you encounter on a daily basis and even your house help and nanny.

For me personally, I practice kindness with the mindset of treating others how I would like to be treated in return. I am very mindful of putting myself in another’s shoes. I have an empathetic and compassionate nature so kindness is basically built in my DNA and I believe without a doubt that it is the same for most too. Sometimes life happens and deals us a difficult hand and our kind nature is overtaken by anxiety, fear, pressure, insecurity and other feelings that have a negative effect on our emotions.

Therefore it stands to reason before you can shower kindness on those around you, you need to be kind to YOURSELF first – it is next to impossible to pour from an empty tank. Investing some time and energy in your own happiness is the logical first step to lead a life of prosperity and kindness. One thing you ALWAYS need to remember is your happiness is YOUR responsibility. Being kind to yourself is important on all levels. From the words you speak over yourself to the thoughts you think. How you treat your body. Are you keeping it healthy with exercise and a balanced diet? Are you nourishing a healthy habit or hobby that fills your heart with joy?

There are many ways to self care and be kind to yourself. Once you have filled that tank by being kind to the person that is most important (YOU) then acts of kindness will come more naturally. If you are miserable emotionally, physically or mentally how can you really be kind to another. Take care of “YOU” first.

From birth, kindness forms part of our DNA as we are totally dependent on the kindness of our parents to nurture us. Kindness is born at the very root of our existence and plays a vital role throughout our lives.

So many of us have ideas on how to improve the world we live in but the truth is practicing kindness in our own homes is an excellent starting point in making an impact on humanity.

It is very naive to think that world peace will stem from a dictator mentality. If we all consciously strive to practice acts of kindness daily it will have an everlasting ripple effect. As you shine your light on those around you, being friendly, generous and considerate, the light begins to shine brighter as the circle slowly gets bigger, impacting more lives in a positive way.

I have spoken often about the importance of being mindful as only we have control over our own thoughts and reactions. We have a choice whether to act in kindness or malice. The choice is always yours. It is up to you what you decide. Don’t you think it is time to take control of your own emotions? To live your life happy, fulfilled and empowered? When you are kind to others you are empowering them, lifting them up in love as their tanks fill up and trickle over, bathing more in its comforting embrace.

Some people say that kindness can be seen as weakness. I say it takes Courage to be Kind. Kindness comes from a place of strength, integrity, values and respect. To practice kindness we need to have a spirit of understanding and forgiveness. Kindness should come to you naturally and should not be hard work. It is very simple really. Being kind is being mindful not to bring harm knowingly to another.

How beautiful is this quote by David W. Orr (Environmental Studies and Politics): “The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.”

13 November is World Kindness Day. Let us all actively strive to adopt an attitude of kindness. Together we can all be a rainbow in the sky that serves as a magical reminder that nothing is permanent. The only thing that is constant is change, and that better days are still to come.

So go on, be a rainbow and shine that light!

E: lauren@mombossmarket.space

IG: @mombosslauren_

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