There are so many good emotions that our society deems ‘lesser’. Good, wheel-greasing, social qualities that make the world a better place. Being ‘kind’, ‘nice’, ‘cheerful’ and ‘nurturing’ are rare characteristics to find on someone’s CV. Instead we are ‘competitive’, ‘energetic’, ‘constructive’ and ‘proactive’. All very important stuff, I’m sure, but why aren’t words like kind, cheerful and nurturing just as powerful? What would happen if someone going for a managerial position put that they were a kind person on their CV? Most likely they’d be seen as too soft, weak and under-cooked for the job.
We think of kindness as being soft and fragile, but the kindest people are the strongest people I know. To be kind is to have compassion and to have compassion you need to be able to look beyond your own immediate needs and consider what someone else might need instead. It doesn’t mean that you’re not capable of getting the job done, it just means that you are more likely to find a way to do the job in a way that leaves everyone feeling like they matter.
When did ‘hard’ emotions get to be the ones we revere? Being out for yourself is what we’re all striving for? Why can’t we admire the CEO because he’s a kind man, a gentle man promoted for his compassion and willingness to listen? These are all qualities that are just as powerful as being a ball-breaking tyrant. Used well these ‘shy’ qualities are able to conquer the world.
After all, kindness is a verb, an action word. Kindness is never at rest. Left to the full power of inertia, kindness in motion will stay in motion as long as it doesn’t come up against the unbalanced force of selfishness, competitiveness, intolerance, envy or greed. What a nice thought that is.
I’ve been thinking about kindness and his other gentle cousins a lot lately. I think we’ve made certain characteristics a lot shyer than they should be. It’s time to invite them to the party and stop calling them weak and babyish. Open them up a bottle of something bubbly and shake it really well first. Slosh those good emotions from one end of life to the other and share them around.
Let’s all get utterly, completely drenched in kindness.