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Kindness

"How have you shown kindness to someone today?"

"How has someone else been kind to you?"

"Is kindness simply the act of being nice to someone, or is there more to it?"

"Can a person be kind without wanting something in return?"

These are the questions posed by philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, and theologians.  Some researchers have found that human's seek cooperation, and we want to get along.

Hans Selye argued that to reduce the negative effects of everyday stress, we need to 'do good for others. He suggests that in doing so, our physiological responses to stress change for the positive (Jackson, 2012).

Altruistic Egoism at its core means that for one to be happy and healthy, one must help others. Love for and gratitude towards others leads to greater feelings of satisfaction and security (Luks & Payne, 2001).

Canter, Youngs, and Yaneva (2017) identified three components of kindness:

  • Agreeable Tolerance, a type of everyday courteousness, acceptance, and love of one's fellows.
  • Empathetic Responsivity, a consideration of the feelings of other individuals.
  • Principled Pro-action, broadly altruistic behaviour that is proactive and about behaving honourably.

Receiving kindness can be even more tricky because if we're not expecting it or feel it isn't deserved, we may question the motives behind this kindness and rob ourselves of a genuine offering of encouragement and support.

Researchers know that being kind and being a recipient of kindness is a good thing for everyone... there's little debate about that!