3 FACETS OF TRUE KINDNESS

The Virtues Project - The 3 facets of kindness - 1. Kindness to others  2. Kindness to our world  3. Kindness to ourselves #virtuesproject #kindness

KINDNESS HAS MORE THAN ONE FACE

When people talk about kindness they tend to focus on being kind to other people. The idea that we show compassion and concern for those closest to us and from there we spread it further afield. As I looked at "K" for Kindness in my List of More, I chose the definition from the Virtues Project as my starting point - and it opened my eyes to the fact that there's more than one facet to kindness.

THE VIRTUES PROJECT'S DEFINITION OF KINDNESS

The Virtues Project seeks to define a list of virtues and give us an understanding of how they look when they're working themselves out in our lives. This is their definition of Kindness:

The Virtues Project - The 3 facets of kindness - 1. Kindness to others  2. Kindness to our world  3. Kindness to ourselves #virtuesproject #kindness

THE THREE FACETS OF KINDNESS

1) KINDNESS TO OTHERS

The vast majority of the definition focuses on kindness to others and how we manifest that. The understanding is that by showing warmth, compassion, empathy, and concern we make the world a better place. If we all chose kindness as our default there would be so much less anger, bitterness, online trolling, violence, war, despair and hopelessness. The world would be full of people who cared - how amazing would that be? 

It all seems a bit "pie in the sky" because our world is nothing like that, but it has to start somewhere - so why  not with us? Why not choose to be kind as our default setting? Why not show patience and understanding in our day to day interactions? Why not slow down a little and lend an ear and share a hug when someone is going through a tough time? Why not go the extra mile and make a difference where you can?

2) KINDNESS TO THE EARTH AND LIVING THINGS

What I liked about their description of Kindness is the vastness of it. It wasn't only about doing good deeds for others, but it included being good to the earth and all that's in it. We need to tread lightly in this world we've been given. We need to cultivate and curate it for our children and grandchildren. We need to manage our resources so that there is plenty left for the generations to come. We are so blessed to live on a beautiful planet that provides for all our needs - so in return we need to return that bounty by being kind to our earth.

Along with our natural resources there is also kindness to animals - we live in a world where there is often so much sadness associated with animal cruelty. These days we're more aware of the suffering of animals and we're less cavalier in our treatment of them, but there's still a lot of neglect and lack of care demonstrated - especially to our pets who should be the recipients of extra kindness, rather than casual disregard once their cuteness and novelty wears off.

3) KINDNESS TO OURSELVES

This is a big one for me, I don't think you can keep putting out for others if you don't fill your own tank as well. If we drain ourselves dry then we eventually run out of steam - our compassion turns to annoyance, other people's needs become a burden and our good intentions are lost somewhere along the way. It's the old "put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others with theirs" concept - exhausting yourself means that you become less kind and more defensive, and that's not the goal is it?

Self-care builds resilience and strength, it means that we have the inner resources to be able to make ourselves available to others. Sometimes it might mean stepping away for a while to restock and rebuild, but ultimately it means that long term we can share of ourselves and build into the lives of others - and we all need more of that.


SHINE YOUR LIGHT

Kindness is a reflection of how God loves us and how He wants us to love others. Reaching out and wanting the best for someone, being there with them when they are hurting, and not doing anything that would cause hurt or upset. Kind people shine a light in our world and are examples of love being lived out daily. It shows on their faces and in their actions - certainly something to aspire to isn't it?

Be the living expression of God's kindness - Mother Teresa

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Have you thought about how you can create more kindness in our world? Are you being kind to yourself so that you can then extend that kindness towards others? What would it look like to you if there was more kindness in our world?


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The Virtues Project - The 3 facets of kindness - 1. Kindness to others  2. Kindness to our world  3. Kindness to ourselves #virtuesproject #kindness

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The Virtues Project - The 3 facets of kindness - 1. Kindness to others  2. Kindness to our world  3. Kindness to ourselves #virtuesproject #kindness

20 comments

  1. A thought-provoking and beautiful post, Leanne. The word and the concept of "kindness" continues to appear in my radar this year. I really liked the phrase "Listen to the needs beneath the words." Many years ago a friend told me to be as kind to yourself as you are to others. I keep this note visible as a reminder and I appreciate the friend. Thank you for sharing:)

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    1. Hi Erica - I love "Listen to the needs beneath the words" too - it really clarifies the human need to be seen and heard (despite our defences). Learning to be kind to myself has been a bit of a journey, but I'm so glad I'm finally getting there - and thanks so much for your encouraging words xx

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  2. This was a lovely gentle read Leanne. I love the quote by Mother Teresa, kindness in our face, our eyes and our smile - so very true :)

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    1. Thanks Deb - I think kindness is very under-rated in our world today. If more of us aimed for Mother Teresa's mindset then the world would be a much gentler place indeed.

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  3. Great post and a good reminder to all of us especially in our present world where kindness is becoming a lost art.

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    1. I think that it's one of our greatest losses Pat - if the world focused on kindness instead of demanding everyone's rights then we'd be a lot more peaceful.

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  4. I would say having patience with people who tend to be annoying is a good way to be kind. You have to give people a chance.

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    1. Exactly Rebecca - you don't always know their back-story and even if they're naturally annoying you don't need to allow that to affect how you respond :)

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  5. Beautiful Leanne and I love how you have brought the three facets of kindness into one post. We often read about being kind to others or self-care but to have both plus care for our earth and environment in the one post is an excellent reminder. I'm constantly concerned about the world my grandchildren are growing up in. Let's start a kindness movement even if it is in our own small part of the world - at least that is something. Have a beautiful week, BBB. xx

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    1. Hi Sue - yes, I'm aiming to be kinder and more gracious. I think we are too quick to judge and too quick to react these days. Taking a step back and taking a breath and choosing to respond kindly is definitely a good start x

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  6. I agree, the vastness of kindness and what it entails can seem overwhelming but you're right. Kindness starts with being kind to ourselves and then to others - I like to think kindness has a really powerful ripple effect.

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    1. I do too Sam - one little pebble in the pond and the more of those pebbles we contribute too, the bigger the ripples x

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  7. Beginning this year, I am practising conscious kindness towards myself and the environment. We usually ignore our own needs and are often too harsh on ourselves while caring about others.

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    1. You're so right Purva - I know that kindness to others is always the first thing that comes to mind, but we definitely need to be kind to ourselves and fill our own well so we can give out to others and being more conscious of how to care for the world around us is a big one too.

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  8. Hello Leanne
    For some reason I’m just struggling being able to comment
    Anyway, I’m so glad to see you are content and feeling better after the struggles with your job and retirement.
    Looking forward to hearing all about what’s next for you!
    Theresa @ Fabinyourfifties

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    1. Hi Theresa - I think it's probably because you're using Safari - that seems to be the problem for anyone who is having trouble with commenting. I appreciate you making the effort though and for your friendship and connection xx

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  9. I do make an effort to be kind to strangers these days when I am out and about. There is so much loneliness out there and none of us know what another is experiencing. Recently as I walked inside a local shopping centre, a lady around my age walked past looking lovely in a bright top and I remarked on how lovely it was and how it suited her. We did not linger, but she replied 'thank you'. Nice to connect like that, even briefly. Thanks for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week's optional prompt is: 24/51 Thank You to Me. 17/6/19 Denyse

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    1. I think the smallest comment or even a genuine smile can have a huge effect on someone's day Denyse. A compliment is so rare these days and it brightens our world when we receive one - and costs nothing to give either x

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  10. I liked your thoughts and insight into kindness. Lately I have been thinking about actions and reactions in conversations and interactions. Before I make a comment I am trying to stop and ask myself if this comment is coming from a place of love or am I just wanting to get my point across? I am a bit surprised how often I need to adjust what I am about to say. I think others would benefit from your post so we will feature it on the next Blogger's Pit Stop
    Kathleen

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  11. You never fail to make me think and smile, Leanne, don't know how you do it, but please continue. :)
    Dropped by today from #BloggersPitStop today but always, always pleased to be here. :)
    Hope this week is filled with peace, love, kindness and understanding. :)

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Thanks so much for your comment - it's where the connection begins.