“Sure that’s mad Ted” as Fr Dougal would say. Radical kindness!
But is it, imagine a society where kindness was core. It is the key to recognising others and ourselves, as worthy of love and understanding.
I have heard Bressie from the mental health movement A Lust for Life talk about how Irish society could be transformed if we adopted radical kindness. The Dalai Lama says “be kind whenever possible. It is always possible”.
Through practicing radical kindness toward ourselves, loved ones and the world at large, we can transform ourselves, community and world for the better.
This is opposite to the bustle of society which has become disconnected and distracted.
What is Kindness?
Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Affection, gentleness, warmth, concern, and care are words associated with kindness.
While kindness has a connotation of meaning someone is naive or weak, that is not the case. Being kind often requires courage and strength.Kindness is a skill of emotional intelligence. You've heard about survival of the fittest and Darwin.
Survival of the fittest is usually associated with selfishness, that to survive (a basic instinct) means to look out for yourself. But Darwin actually didn't see mankind as being biologically competitive and self-interested.
Darwin believed that we are a profoundly social and caring species, that sympathy and caring for others is instinctual. Science now shows that devoting resources to others, rather than having more and more for yourself, brings about lasting well-being.
Kindness was found in research to be the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in marriage.
Kindness is love in action. Here are seven ways to bring more kindness to everyday life.
1. A kind moment. Practice 'kindfulness' - be aware of the present moment with heart. Start your day with kindness.
2. A Daily Kindness Challenge. Commit to doing one kind thing for another person that is outside your usual routine but is absolutely achievable eg send a thank you note.
3. Think of others' feelings. In situations try to walk in someone’s else’s shoes. What if I don’t take this situation so personally? What if I wait a day to respond? What if the kindest thing to do is to excuse myself from a situation or relationship. Ask how can I bring kindness to this difficult moment?
4. A daily dose of self-kindness. Try compassion. Find or create phrases that you find comforting and follow these guidelines: be clear, be authentic and true to your experience and use a kind tone. “I will be ok”, “I love myself just as I am”, “I trust in myself”. Ask: What vulnerable aspects of my experience need my tender love and care?
5. Stretch. Fear holds us back and is supported and strengthened by avoidance. Ask, How can I be courageous and step out of my comfort zone?
6. Volunteer. In a culture where people are stuck to mobile devices, addicted to being busy and are always stressed, it may feel impossible to find time to volunteer.
7. Be Grateful. Kindness and gratitude go hand-in-hand. Through repetitive gratitude, you nurture a kind mind. Ask yourself, How can I become more aware, more curious, more grateful? When you treat yourself and others with warmth, empathy, and respect, your world begins to change.
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