When used as a noun, kind, groups different things or people together. As an adjective it is used to describe a persons nature. Growing up I was taught to be kind, and to treat others as I would like to be treated. Now I am older I want to try and understand what it truly means to be kind.
As I was doing research for this post I came across this video.
The book, “What does it mean to be kind” by Rana DiOrio, is a children’s book. It takes you through different examples of what being kind is not and then what being kind is. Summarising at the end the importance of treating others as you would like to be treated yourself.
As an adjective, kind, is defined as having or showing a friendly, generous and considerate nature. Considerate is defined as carefully not inconveniencing or harming others, and showing careful thought.
All of the sounds really simple. Even obvious. But the thing that strikes me the most about these definitions is, the implied intention for your actions to be towards, or for, others.
Why I love “What does it mean to be kind” by Rana DiOrio.
Be warned I am about to reveal the ending of the book. I love this book because Rana DiOrio says “…if we can be kind to each other, and ourselves, the world will be more loving, caring and harmonious.” If we are kind to each other and ourselves. How many times have you stubbed your toe and instantly cursed yourself? Dropped your phone and called yourself an idiot? Made a mistake at work and internally scolded yourself worse than your parents would? Agreed to do so many things for others, that you don’t have time to think or get anything done for yourself?
Sound familiar? If it does then you are in the same boat as me. And we need to stop.
A friend of mine recently passed on some much needed knowledge. Exactly what we were talking about escapes me, but I remember her response; “If you wouldn’t say the same hurtful things to a friend, after they had done the same thing, why would you say it to yourself?”
I’ll let you sit with that for a second.
In an interview many years ago. I explained that I felt my biggest strength was also my biggest weakness. My strength. That I am self-critical, which keeps me striving to be the best. My weakness. That I am self-critical and can, at times, be too hard on myself.
Do I think it is important to be self-critical? Yes. We may not all be fortunate enough to have a friend who will tell it like it is and we listen. And we need to be held accountable for our actions. But as I have got older and experienced things I was not prepared for. My understanding of, and appreciation for, the importance of being kind to ourselves has increased 10 fold.
When thinking about being kind to yourself, start small.
It’s the little things that count. Make time to check-in with yourself. Ask yourself how you are feeling, if you feel like a 5 out of 10. Ask yourself what it would take to make you a 6 out of 10, then do that. Self-care is the way to be kind to yourself.
Society encourages us to think more of others than ourselves. From my recent experience, it is clear to me that thinking more of others feelings than your own is not the best way to go. My mum explains it like this, “If you spend all your time thinking about someone else. That person has two people thinking about them. And you have no one thinking about you.”
If we are kind to ourselves, and truly treat ourselves as we would like to be treated. We will meet others who will treat us the same way and we, in turn, will treat them with the same kindness.
The kindness we show ourselves will boost our self-esteem. We will become more self-assured and able to standup for our feelings. Speaking out against others who do not treat us as we would expect.
To answer my original question.
To be kind means, treating yourself as you would treat a friend. And treating all others as you would like to be treated.
In this post I am wearing a self-made, self-drafted button front maxi dress. The fabric used is a lightweight crepe that I picked up from either a fabric shop on Goldhawk Road or a fabric shop in Dalston.
Until next time,