Kindness is a strength of character, seen through your true values.
Are you kind?
Are you kind to others?
Are you kind to yourself?
Or are you just being nice because you feel the pressure to do so?
Being Kind to others is easier than being kind to yourself. Why do so many of us struggle with kindness to ourselves? What is it that prevents us to show the same loving care that we give to others.
Growing up we are conditioned to put others first. Not everyone, some people always put themselves first and some take it to the other extreme that only they matter, often not caring about anyone but themselves. Sometimes, this is an unconscious expectation just because they did were use to being taken care of in this way. Where you always put someone first or you always received everything first, kindness requires a level of awareness that combines both extremes.
You have be kind to yourself, to be kind to others and how you interpret kindness depends on your cultural, social environmental influences. The true meaning of kindness is deeper than an act of kindness or doing good things whenever possible. The truth is kindness goes deeper than you can image. It encourages a deep sense of compassion and caring for another in a way that allows them to feel good and you to be true.
Kindness is a universal act beyond boundaries created by humans. Religions attempt to bring this into their teachings. The words used to describe someone who is kind is often denigrated as being 'too soft', and in an era where the patriarchal rule has lead the world to be tough; it is often regarded as a weakness, not a strength. It is not weak to be kind. In fact I would go as far as to say it takes a lot of strength and courage to be truly kind today. To be kind is not self-serving in any way. It is not about being satisfied about being a kind person who does good, and therefore has points under their belt. It is much, much more than that.
To be truly kind involves making a choice; to be kind and may even require a level of sacrifice in some form, which may even require you to say 'no' to others demands. Kindness is a choice made even in difficult circumstances. It is not the same as being nice. Kindness is linked to our inner conscience that has values and code of conduct. Being nice is often to look good or not to experience the wrath of someone in a particular situation. In a strange way it can be an act of obedience as it is easier to not confront what may arise if you do not obey. It can be with family, friends and especially at work. Like when your manager asks you to do something, knowing you don't have the capacity, but still agree to do it out of some level of fear. The kind thing would be to say no, or ask them to decide what is more important in competing task, no t shut up and kill yourself trying to do it all. This brings to to being kind to ourselves. It's not easy saying no to your boss, a parent or someone who is in charge, where there could be repercussions. Yet, this is a way to be kind to you.
Being kind is something we often reserve for others and not ourselves. Yet kindness begins with you. It starts in the day to day interactions, where you begin to realize you need to take care of your well-being. This means saying 'no' to your manager when required. We all deserve kindness. A deeply kind person has learnt to be kind to themselves as well as others. Your kindness can begin with the self by having a serious chat with your inner critic, the voice that puts you down whilst raising others higher up. Begin with kind words with yourself. I learnt over time that being kind to me, in my life as it is, meant I had a deeper understanding about the meaning of being kind. This meant I could be naturally kind to others, genuinely. Those who do not understand the meaning of being kind, may say very unkind things to you or behind your back. May use words to describe you in degrading words. Yet, the more you are kind to you, the more you give kindness to others. This becomes your strength, that brings more courage and confidence. When real kindness becomes your way forwards in life, it inspires others to do the same. People feel the difference between being kind and being nice. Only one of them feels real.
When you have a situation where you can choose kindness over niceness - choose to be kind even though it might be the hardest option. It can often be tricky in deciding which is which. When in doubt feel inside you. If it feels good, then you are probably feeling kind. If there is any resistance, then niceness is creeping in.