I recently spoke to a friend about kindness- We wondered if everyone has the same thoughts of what kindness is and what it isn’t…

My friend said something along the lines of…Being kind is a decision a person makes and a well formed decision can’t be made without knowing all the sides of an issue…

So…

Do you think kind people are open to all ideas and do not discriminate as to who they are kind towards?

If you are kind to Person A because you agree with them, and not kind to Person B because you don’t agree with them, can you consider yourself a kind person?

Do we as individuals make a decision to be kind?

I do not consider myself a kind person… I consider myself a respectful person. I might not treat you with pretty words or pats on the back, but I will always respect your thoughts, decisions and choices. I also consider myself to be humane- I do not like to see suffering of any sort. However, no one is ever going to present me with the Ms. Congeniality award…and I’m OK with that…

I make a decision to be respectful…

I make a decision to be humane…

I make a decision to treat someone as they treat me…

If I don’t like something you’ve done, you will probably know it…because I don’t believe in being nice to someone when they’re in front of me and speak ill of them when they’re not…I have too much respect for people to be a hypocrite…

For today’s thoughts…

How do you define kindness?

Does kindness extend to all people whether or not you agree with them?

Do we make an individual choice to be kind?

Can you be truly kind without understanding all sides of an issue?

Are kindness and respect the same or different?

Short answers or essay will be accepted…

Begin…

94 thoughts on “Kindness

    1. I’m not sure I agree with that Jaya. Kindness is kindness. If you are good natured and helpful to others it doesn’t really change. If I help out at a soup kitchen I don’t judge which person gets to have food. I feed everyone.
      As a teacher I didn’t discriminate who got good grades. Or who got a class treat. Kindness doesn’t discriminate.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Kindness IS kindness, but could be interpreted as interference, partiality and so on. There are times I may be kinder to a student who has lost a parent recently etc, but that may be looked at askance. Personally I feel there are too many definitions of too many rights these days to draw a box around Kindness and be satisfied!
        And now I’m feeling real old, and I’m not even 60 😆

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Oh my goodness you shouldn’t feel old. I will be 73 this year and I don’t feel old. At least not mentally. My body feels old some days, but only because I’m in a continual battle with reoccurring ovarian cancer. However, my mind is just as curious and seeking enlightenment as when I was 20. We must keep our selves in a state of learning and growing. ALL while seeking joyful experiences. Feeling happy is like ingesting a bottle filled with youthfulness. Watch really old people laugh. Their faces brighten up and they appear younger. The truth is, smiling releases endorphins. (Even fake smiles releases feel good hormones). Smiling relieves stress and reduces pain. So I make sure to focus on positive things as often as possible.60 isn’t old.

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  1. You crack me up . Short answers or essays will be accepted . 🤣 I hear and respect your points, but to me kindness is a different idea. Kindness is closer to grace and mercy than respect . More like feeding the homeless or smiling at strangers . It’s not subject to agreeing with or even knowing the viewpoints or actions of the other person, or animal. You can treat people with kindness even though you recognize that you wouldn’t have anything in common with them. I guess that’s what you meant by humane? Mercy is not getting the judgment that we all deserve . Grace is getting something we don’t deserve. Both are from the kindness of God.

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  2. Kindness to me is synonymous with humanity. Being good to others and helping those in need. For me it is something I was raised to do as a way of life.
    Example:
    Tzedakah in actionIt refers to the Jewish obligation, or mitzvah , of giving to charity as well as supporting social justice. Giving tzedakah is one of the most important commandments for Jews.
    However, I don’t believe respect or being respectful is the same thing. That’s good manners.
    It’s kindness to feed homeless people. It’s kindness to see an elderly person struggle and open the door for them. I have helped people who I may not respect. I wouldn’t let a thug starve, I’d do what could to help someone but that doesn’t mean I necessarily respect their political views or who they are.
    Im someone who believes in helping others. I am kind to people. To pretty much everyone. Im also polite. I have good manners.
    As a teacher I often had to have conferences with parents who neglected their children or who were not worthy of having children. Yet I was polite and kind. But I did not respect them or the way they parented.
    I wouldn’t be unkind to someone because their political views differed from mine. Yet I might think they were misguided.
    Kindness is simply being nice to others and helping those in need.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. You nailed what I was thinking with your response about the parents of your students…you were kind, but it didn’t mean you thought they were good parents. There are different ways of approaching things

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And it didn’t mean these parents were respectable, either. I didn’t/don’t agree with your friend that those to whom I might show kindness would necessarily be respectable. Right?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I like your thoughts LA. I always think of being kind as being honest with someone. That doesn’t mean you need to be blunt about it, but lying to someone ultimately hurts them more. I believe that has everything to do with respect. I would rather know the truth than be told something you think I want to hear. 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s funny because I don’t equate honesty with kindness…I almost think kind is sort of white lies…how do you like my hair…oh it’s lovely….when you think it’s a horrible haircut

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve heard it called wise compassion – when you can see that being honest is actually the kinder thing to do for them. Of course there are exceptions – white lies being one. And I do believe the truth – even if it’s hard to say – should be delivered with tact. There is a kind way to tell the truth and a harsh way.

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      2. Well, honesty is a good thing. But if you know it will hurt someone then sometimes avoiding it out of caring isn’t so wrong. For instance, I wouldn’t tell someone who gained a lot of weight that they look fat. Why say something hurtful? I might say they look pretty in that outfit , which would still be the truth. Nobody immediately turns ugly if they gain some weight.

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      3. This is a concept that people grapple with. I know people say they never lie, but I don’t know too many people who will tell someone the truth in these situations

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      1. Yeah…that’s how I am too. But I’ve lied to spare peoples feelings, like I said to someone else…how’s my hair? Awesome. Even though I thought it was a train wreck

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  4. Kindness- considerate, polite, thoughtful, caring, maybe even putting others first before oneself. Kindness isn’t necessarily an innate trait so yes, I think we make conscious and individual choices to be kind or not. That decision could be based on a number of factors and those factors may change. Kindness versus respect: I think you have to like someone and what they do in general to respect them. On the other hand you can choose to be kind to someone without truly respecting them. I also think kindness applies to our thoughts about others- so when someone claims to be kind to others always and they are less than that in their thoughts…yes we go into hypocritical territory. I find it hard to believe that anyone can actually claim the prize to being a kind person 100% of the time.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s it…kindness isn’t innate…it’s learned behavior…we actively choose to be or not be kind…and yes you can be kind without respect as Leslie pointed out…good thoughts

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t believe they are the same. Like you, I always try to be respectful of others…even when we don’t agree on something. However, I can’t fake kindness. I can’t be kind to someone who isn’t showing the same. I’m not a very “warm” person, but I am, like you, always respectful.

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  6. Trying to get our brains in gear for the week, aren’t you!
    I agree with what others have said, as far as kindness being something that you show to everyone. It doesn’t matter peoples beliefs, opinions, etc. because a lot of times I don’t even know that much about them!
    If someone is in line and needs a little change when paying their bill at a fast food restaurant I will give it to them. Someone has their hands full, I will hold the door open for them. I will smile at people on the street or in the store, not because I know them but just because. Small acts of kindness can go a long way.

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  7. I’ve been researching, blogging, speaking, and writing about kindness for 7+ years, and have written a book on the subject, so it’s tempting to get carried away in responding here. I will just share a couple of thoughts that your provocative comments aroused. “Kind” and “nice” are very different things. Nice is doing what’s expected of us, doing what’s safe and polite, while kindness is putting ourselves out there, lending a hand, taking a risk, and often making ourselves vulnerable as we do what needs to be done. Kindness isn’t a decision we make dependent on the “worthiness” of the other person; we choose to be kind because of who WE are and not who the other guy is. That being said, kind people may not always be kind. The best intentions may fail when we’re tired, feel threatened, or are simply oblivious. Like anything that’s important to us and we want to do well, kindness takes practice, lots of practice—in both extending it and learning not to respond in like manner when we feel offended or disrespected. Yes, I believe kindness is a choice and it’s one that we can make in every interaction we have and every action we take. We can build our kindness “muscle” by practicing simple skills (pausing, withholding judgment, engaging our curiosity….). In a world where both incivility and kindness have been proven to be contagious, it’s wise to think about which contagion we want to spread.

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      1. Depends on how people define kindness. I saw a homeless woman on the subway today begging for money. No one gave her any. Is kindness giving her money?

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      2. Replying to your comment below: Giving money is not the only way of extending kindness. If one doesn’t feel able or motivated to hand money to someone, they can express kindness by withholding judgment about the person, or by making eye contact and wishing her a good day—letting her know that she’s seen.

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      3. In this particular case, the woman was high as a kite and most probably imbalanced. While I didn’t give her a drug test or a competency test, I recognize the signs, so I can say with a certain a,out of confidence. Now, I’ve had my share of people thrown things at me, and made me feel physically scared. While I might not judge her, because really this could be anyone, and I feel for her, I’m avoiding eye contact like the plague . If someone’s rude to me, I admit it, I’m not going to be kind. I might not say something to them, but I’m totally going to journal about it. I freely admit I’m not a big enough person to treat everyone with kindness.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. You mention kindness and respect, but I think there’s a third element, too: politeness. That one plays a role with people whom I might not agree with but don’t want to shun simply because we have different values.

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  9. Manners navigational
    Kindness is fungible.
    Respect is transactional …like it or not.
    Civility is currency

    All I got ….interesting post but I wonder the why of these inclusions;
    1.Does kindness extend to all people whether or not you agree with them?
    2. Can you be truly kind without understanding all sides of an issue?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Im trying to figure out best way to tell about what led my friend and I to this discussion…someone we know was having a random conversation with someone who appeared very kind. When the person found out our friend had a viewpoint on something, the person they thought was kind became really obnoxious and quite the opposite of kind. And the was the impetus for the conversation. Does that make sense?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I love this topic, LA! But I also disagree with what your friend said about kindness. I think kindness is assuming that we DON’T know all the circumstances of someone else’s life so we interpret their behavior in the most generous way possible. And when we can’t do that, it’s probably because it triggers something that bugs us about ourselves.

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  11. I agree with first commenter, Jaya, kindness looks different on different people. My husband is a kind man and by that I mean he never starts an argument. He helps everyone, he speaks softly, easily talked into doing things he does not really want to do because he does not want to offend. Me, well, I am kind in a louder way. I will help you but if you take advantage of me, will not help the second time. My husband will give people many chances. I tried to be like him for years till I learned through reading the bible God had made me the way I am, a kind loud person. Great post.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. This is a lot of thinking after a four and a half drive home beginning at 4:30 a.m. I googled it and found the following answer on Quora:

    Respect is earned.
    Kindness is bestowed upon others without them having to earn it.
    There is a kind of respect that is owed to others simply because of their station in life, but it’s still not the same as kindness.
    Real kindness means doing something for someone when they don’t expect it, without a second thought for your own convenience and without expectations of gratitude or reward.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oooh…I’m going to over think these for a bit. That’s a very interesting take…bestowed without having to earn, which is different than Leslie and the parents thought…hmmmm

      Liked by 1 person

  13. my rule is to treat people the way you want to be treated. Don’t let people take advantage of your kindness though and if you feel like your kindness isn’t appreciated then take it elsewhere. I use to math energy but I don’t care to do that anymore. If you get on my nerves, I know how to never seen by you again. Life is to short to put up with BS attitudes.

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  14. My Mama always said, “if you’re going to error, error on the side of kindness.” It’s an objective. And like that character in Bambi says, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” But you can always give someone the look! Hugs, C

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  15. I try and live by a decision to be this type of person: The Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. ~Galatians 5:22-23 Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail epically.

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  16. I try to do my best to be kind to all. Sometimes I fail, but then I try, try, try again. I try very hard to imagine the other person’s perspective. Lately I’ve found it challenging to separate the customer service people from the company itself, when dealing with my internet and wireless company. particularly when waiting on hold for ages……..still holding my breath, and sometimes I think unkind thoughts about politicians! I will try to do better tomorrow!

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    1. Oh I know the separating customer service from the company. But really….I held for an hour and a half recently to be told that customer service didn’t have an answer and I had to call another department. I lost my cool.

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  17. I really like this post and topic. I think we as human beings do make the decision to be kind. I think the truth is a good point. People who tell the truth with the potential or knowledge they may hurt someone is not right and that does not make them kind. I really liked Donna’s comment. “How about we always choose kindness? We may not always succeed, but we’ll be taking a stand for the world as we want it to be. Why wouldn’t we want to choose kindness?” I totally agree with this and feel like more people at least need to start by trying and having the intention to be kind. I recently posted about sparking kindness in my blog.

    https://myuncommonperspective.wordpress.com/2022/04/05/spark-kindness/

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  18. No one is kind 100% of the time. We all consciously or unconsciously pick our moments and circumstances. I know my limit is that I can be kind to someone even if I disagree with them until my kindness is either rejected or treated as a sign of weakness in my part. Then the walks go up quickly.

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  19. I think kindness is the choice you make when you are in a situation where you can choose to be either nice or mean. I also think kindness should extend to all people. I think we make an individual choice to be kind. Sure, sometimes we can be influenced, but in the end it’s still our choice. I don’t think you can be truly kind if you don’t understand every side. Kindness and respect are different. Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone because of their abilities, qualities, or achievements. You can also respect someone because they’re kind.

    Phew, think I answered everything. Thanks for the food for thought!

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  20. Kindness is a lifestyle that involves extending genuine kindness to all, unless or until they prove they are unworthy, because then kindness is nothing more than a task rather than a genuine expression.

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