Intentional Kindness

I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness – like can’t sleep at all this past week, so I’m up all night thinking about it . Last night,  needing to do something to further my thoughts, I was reading and pinning, and then realized this morning that it’s “Random Act of Kindness Day”. Why wouldn’t it be? 😉

More and more, I come to the conclusion that authenticity, intention, and kindness are keys to balance and wellness. Everything else (all the rules and boxes) is nonsense that just gets in the way.

I have been bullied a lot in my life. One of those things where I just fit right in to people’s negative patterns of behavior with my sensitivities and empathy. So many people see these traits as weaknesses. A lot of them will take advantage of that. Yes, like I said, I’ve been bullied a lot, but I’m not ever keen on playing the victim.

Early on, my mother gave me some advice,which she and my grandmother have repeated many times since, “Kill them with kindness”.   Throughout my life, I have been able to use this tool to get through things I wouldn’t have, otherwise. You see, “killing them with kindness” is really “choosing kindness” in the face of adversity. It’s intentionally being kind.

Kindness is a powerful thing to wield, and it is always available to us to use.

This brings me to the idea of “random acts of kindness”, which has grown ever so popular. I get it. It feels good to do. I think we need to be careful though, of being kind, for the sake of being kind… it can get all – white christian missionary doing “good” for the 3rd world – kinds of scary.

In a recent discussion about non-profits and meaning, we discussed addressing a need, vs. addressing a perceived need. Who is stating the need? The recipient or the giver? Be aware of how intersectionality affects your perception of someone else’s needs. Be sure to listen. Giving your idea of “help” isn’t always kindness, even if you mean well.

I think random acts of kindness can be a good starting point, especially if you’re just learning to be intentionally kind, but integrating it, and having it be your default (instead of moving into anger and blame) will bring more balance and peace to all involved. I’ve been practicing kindness my entire life, and I’m still stuck at times. Your compassion needs to include yourself, and this point is where I’m pulled apart. When do I make, or not make, sacrifices to be kind to others? When is kindness an action, and when is it a choice not to act? Random acts of kindness can be easier because they’re to strangers, who have rarely hurt us. What about intentional acts of kindness towards the people who hurt us again and again? Where do you draw the line? When do you choose kindness towards yourself over all else? It turns out that sometimes, the kindest thing to do is be intentionally quiet.

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