How kind are you ?

mask-1 mask kindness ?

 Does being kind to others mean

  • Helping others you do not know ?
  • Being emotionally warm to those who are close to you ?

Or is kindness really about

  • Putting others first and you last ?
  • Sacrificing your longer term personal needs so that others benefit ?

Or is kindness (to myself and others) when we boil it all down to its essence

  • Looking good, being admired for your public acts of kindness ?
  • An implied business contract of if I do this you, I expect you to return the favour ?

Photo by Mayan Sachan on Unsplash

How kind are you helping others who need support ?

  • Do you volunteer your time for a charity or a local community group ?
  • Have you joined and are active for a local committee where you live ?
  • Do you donate money regularly to good causes ?
  • What proportion of your spare cash do you give away ?
  • Do you give blood or have an organ donor card 

When you pass the food donation bill in the supermarket, what do you do ?
Is kindness built in ?Researcher Dacher Keltner (UC Berkeley) found that kindness is rooted in evolutionary ancient parts of your brain. A very old part of the brain the "periaquaductalgray" (which is common in humans and animals which take care of things), lights up when you feel compassion - the feeling of caring to someone in need, Kindness acts also activates your vagus nerve. It is the longest bundle of nerves inside you. The vagus nerve is the queen of the parasympathetic nervous system. Switching this on happens when you chill out after a day's work.

Dacher showed people images of suffering and found working class individual's vagus nerve lights up but not so much for wealthy individuals. Dacher describes this as a compassion deficit.

Who donates money to good charity causes ? If you earn just enough money to pay your rent, food and utilities with a little cash left over, it matters what you put in your fridge. Economic studies have compared poorer people with those that have much more disposable income, The evidence is that poorer people donate more relative to their income. Kindness can provide enormous strength in poorer communities by binding everyone together.

Are animals kind ? Rank in order of kindness, the animals below. 

How did you rank them and why ? Did you rank dogs high ? Is this because they always pay attention and listen to you ? Does the snake send a shiver of fear down you ?

How kind are you with your family, close friends and work colleagues ? Consider taking for a moment, a private reflection on the following questions.

  • Do you help family and friends without being asked?
  • Do you always compliment and praise people you know ?
  • Do you avoid criticising people if you feel it may upset them ?

These are all little kindness acts. It really doesn't do anything to disrupt your day. It can be just a split second and you're actually having a positive impact on someone else.

Is there a "relationship hierarchy" of kindess. Does the pressure to be kind differ dependent on the kind of relationship you have ?

Is kindness a clause implicitly written into your marriage contract ? It is compulsory to be kind on a daily basis to your loved one ? Break this contract and you run the risk of couple arguments and emotional fights ?

Being a mum or dad:do you feel it is parental duty to be kind ? Loving your child, telling them they are special and spending time with them, can be a Mental Health protection factor, reducing the likelihood poor Mental Health in the future.

What does it mean to be close to a friend ? Having fun, confidential conversations, emotional and practical support ? Kindness is not compulsory but to be close it is expected.

Working with people at work often means being a team playe. It is an essential part of a work role but kindness may not be. When it happens, it is appreciated not expected. Staff can volunteer to be a Mental Health First Aider at work. Many are motivated by a desire to help others. Does this mean selecting Mental Health First Aiders by kindness ?

Are some professional roles more kind than others ? Very quickly without thinking too much, rank below these professional roles in order of their kindness.

At first sight you may have automatically put drug dealer and paedophile (not professional roles) right at the bottom of your ranking for understandable reasons. You also may have decided some professionals are high on the hierarchy. If you have family who farm, you may not only ranked a farmer high but also the animal cow high as well ?

Would doctors nurses and teachers do their job if they do not get paid ? Is it more about individuals being kind rather than their professional role ? Maybe it is only when someone goes beyond their professional role, being kind happens ?

Staying at work beyond your contracted hours as a nurse because patients right now need your help. Not expecting payment for those acts is kindness ?

Is kindness only really important when it is done in view of others ? (in public)

  • Running to fundraise for a local charity and posting pictures of you looking exhausted.
  • Telling friends that you have been shopping for your neighbour because of covid lockdown.

Can you be kind on social media ? (Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash)

Does your social media profile picture capture your essence ? And present you in honest / positive / kind light ? or is a picture of some time ago ?

Do you use the like button often, not to attract followers but you genuinely want to ? Do you make thoughtful positive comments on blogs, link in and podcasts ?

Is kindness really important when many others are being kind al at the same time ? Such as BBC children in need or a World disaster event

Are you a kindness superhero or is there a limit to you being kind ?

You have won the lottery of 100K, would you give it all away ? or instead give a some to your family and help your friends out ? or keep it all to yourself and be wary of acquaintances freeloading ?

Colin and Christine Weir, won £161 million EuroMillions lottery, but set to divorce, eight years later. Callie Rogers, spent her £1.87million on cosmetic surgery, drugs and partying, said she longed to go back to a 'normal life' after her win, and is now much happier. (Daily Mail online 2021). Can kindness to others help protect you if you unexpectedly win large cash sums ?

Would you be kind to someone you do not like ? Maybe your first reaction is no. But why ? They may like you or not realise how you feel towards them. Are all parts of who they are, unlikeable ? or if you search more deeply, might you discover hidden special qualities.

Would you make friends with someone who is demanding of your time but is lonely ? We tend to enjoy the company of people we like and meet regulary

Would go out with someone whom you privately find physically unattractive but they really like you ?

This a harder question. Would you be kind to someone who has burgled your house and taken your precious possessions ? Maybe your first reaction is no. That's stealing and they have robbed you of family memories. A particular form of kindess is foregiveness. What might happen if you forgave that person ?

At work does kindness to your work colleagues limit your career prospects or can it pay to be kind at work ? Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

Do you focus on the success of your work team or department as much or more than your individual success?

Would you help a colleague prepare for a promotion interview you are also going for ?

There is a difference between supporting others preparing for a job interview and your actual interview performance.

Would you accept a pay cut for the company you work for given business is not great at the moment ?

Would you be kind to a person at work who is bullying you ? Of course not, I hear you say…why would you be kind to someone who is cruel and heartless ?

Does kindness mean doing something for someone and expecting something back in return ? Should you tip the hairdresser ? At the pub someone you know is enjoying your company and buys you a drink. Or does kindness mean really mean doing something for someone and not expecting anything in return ?

Social capital is when someone opens a door for someone, returns a lost item to a stranger, gives someone directions, loans something without a contract, even if they don't know each other.

The more individuals invest in these resources, the more they are likely to receive benefits in the future. These resources are referred to as social capital. Although it's not tangible, social capital is very real and very powerful. It's also very valuable. Politicians and entrepreneurs understand this value.

Generalised reciprocityis all about giving without the expectation of return and is very different to balanced reciprocity, were there is an explicit expectation of immediate return.

Bonding social capital describes the connections between similar groups of people that share the same characteristics, such as age, hobbies, or sports teams. It is might come from closely working with a colleague for years and developing a close personal relationship with them.

Bridging social capital differs from bonding in that the social ties are not so strong. Links come from weaker connections such as friends of friends, or colleagues and associates. The connection is 'bridged' in the fact that one person is introduced to another through an intermediary.

Bridging occurs horizontally, (between people of a similar socioeconomic power or hierarchy). By contrast, linking social capital occurs vertically – i.e. between socioeconomic groups.

  • bonding social capital is good for "getting by"
  • bridging is crucial for "getting ahead"
  • linking is important to access power and decision makers

So kindness in the form of Social Capital can help you make friends with similar interests and make connections with people that drive your community and business forward and prosper.

How much risk to yourself are you prepared to take ? Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash

You are out walking and see a child in the water, struggling to stay afloat, would you swim out in your clothes to save them ?

What about if the water was freezing and the person looks to be a fit and strong man ?

Would you give mouth to mouth resuscitation to someone in the street who looks like they have had a heart attack ? Or it is best to leave it to someone else ?

Kindness acts are influenced by the "bystander effect". You will help much more often if you are the only witness. If several people are present when the person collapses, each of them will tend to pass the responsibility of intervening on to the others. This reaction is all the more pronounced when their many people are there.


Want to spicy or fruity up your conversations ? Are women or men more kind ? Try asking people you know at work or your friends that question. Everyone will have an opinion. Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

The brain's reward system, administers dopamine when triggered, this influences what motivates us to do certain things on the basis that they will make us feel good.

Empirical studies show that girls are rewarded with praise for 'prosocial' behaviour, implying that their reward systems learn to expect a reward for helping behaviour instead of selfish behaviour. Women become mothers and nurturers

But women can be selfish too.

Random Acts of Kindness - Anne Herbert wrote, on a restaurant place mat. "Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty" The term refers to selfless acts, both large and small, that are committed unexpectedly, without prompting and with no apparent ulterior motive. Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

Why should we do this ?

Because acts of kindness can benefit us in surprising ways !

Theresa Cheung explore kindness in her book 100 ways to be kind.

MYTHs Vs FACT ?

You have to be good to be kind -You do not have to be perfect like Mother Theresa to be kind.

Kindness is easy - Takes a lot of courage to step out of your comfort zone

Should I not put myself first ? - Yes -you cannot drink from an empty cup – it is a balance – the secret is valuing yourself enough to know when your cup is full.

Kind people finish last - There is a difference between being kind and weak. Kind people routinely get ignored, taken advantage of, rarely thanked for their effort. But they are NOT PUSHOVERS. They notice people who are manipulative, rude and approach them with tact and politeness. Others aim low, they aim high. They know how to say NO with firmness and grace.

Others over time recognise them for what they are..and so I hope you do as well ?

A deeper dive - Generalised Anxiety Disorder
 

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Saturday, 08 May 2021

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