Post by Carolyn Hughes for the Kind Kindred series.

photo courtesy of Guian Bolisay on Flickr.com

‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.’ – Dalai Lama

What does being kind mean to you? Perhaps it’s helping someone out, giving a gift or simply offering a compliment, but being kind can also mean having a loving and forgiving attitude.

‘Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.’ – Lao Tzu 

An act of kindness is always well received. It shows you care about the happiness of that person and it gives your relationship meaning. Whether it’s being kind with your words, thoughts or actions, your act of kindness has the potential to develop from a single event to a long-term memory. For it’s not necessarily what you do that will be remembered, it’s how you made them feel when you did it.

Think of a good memory when someone was thoughtful to you and you can appreciate it wasn’t necessarily the way the kindness was shown; it was how you felt afterwards and how you feel when you recall the memory. It’s those warm memories that last the longest and still make us feel good long after the event.

That’s why a kindness doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or a huge event to be significant – a phone call from a friend who knows you’re going through a tough time, an unexpected ‘Thank you’ present from a colleague, or a smile from a stranger. Even the little things can promote those feelings of recognition, connection and compassion.

‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.’ – 1Corinthians 13:4

Being good to someone who is good to you can give you a feeling of mutual understanding and friendship. It’s easy to be compassionate when it’s reciprocated but much harder when someone has treated you badly.

But being considerate or generous to someone who has hurt can be a powerful force for change. Whether it’s refusing to take offense or being patient with someone who is difficult there are always opportunities to be positive in thought or actions. For the ultimate kindness is shown through loving the unlovable and forgiving the unforgivable.

When you are kind to the unkind you sow a seed of love. And that seed is sown not just in their lives but also in yours. Extending grace can soften even the hardest heart and that can make you feel good too. Doing something without any expectation of appreciation or thanks brings its own reward – the knowledge that you have done the right thing and brought some light into a dark place.

‘Be gentle first with yourself if you wish to be gentle with others.’ – Lama Yeshe

Being kind to others is a gift, but it’s so important to extend that gift to yourself. Recognise your talents and celebrate your strengths. Take time to encourage and nurture yourself when it’s needed. It’s not boastful or arrogant to value yourself or to consider yourself worthy. You can’t give away what you don’t have, so treat yourself with the same kindness that you would extend to others. And love yourself with the same love that you would extend to others.

Now that’s the best kind of loving.

Carolyn Hughes is a freelance writer who is regularly published in the UK and United States. 
She specialises in addiction and mental health issues which stems from her personal story of overcoming alcoholism and depression. 
Her popular blog The Hurt Healer reflects her passion to help others make their own successful journey in emotional recovery and to live their life as the person they were meant to be.

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