My five year old little boy Toby has been graced with a wonderfully kind and caring disposition. On one occasion, reminiscent of the many others, he saw an opportunity to be kind. The recipient in this situation was his Mum. Constant tooth pain, pregnancy sickness, six children and a husband who traveled a lot with work had, on this day, gotten the best of her. However, much of her anguish melted away when she walked into our bedroom to find Toby had picked a flower from the garden and placed it on her pillow. He loved her, saw her struggling and did what he could to help her feel better. This was followed with a generous supply of hugs and kisses too. We don’t need age, experience, education, or resources to be kind and make a difference. We simply need love and thoughtfulness.
Theodore Isaac Rubin said that, “Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.” Spending just a little time on this subject can reveal quickly the reasons why.
Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, has studied happiness for more than 20 years. She conducted a study where students were assigned to do five random acts of kindness per week for a period of six weeks. At the end of the study, the students’ levels of happiness had increased by 41.66 percent. Being kind had a profoundly positive effect on happiness.
Not only does it have a big impact on our happiness, but, in the expression of a virtuous circle, it is also the offspring of self esteem (which further fuels our happiness). Nathaniel Branden explained, “There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity.” I believe that when we are at peace with ourselves it is easier to be at peace with others.
It seems also that we can accomplish more through kindness that we can through force (leadership versus management). Whilst Rubin said that kindness is more important than wisdom, perhaps we could get a little closer to the mark by saying that kindness is the expression of wisdom. It fosters friendships, heals hearts, opens doors and casts its fruitful seeds farther than we often could expect. Let’s all strive a little harder to be a little kinder. After all, it is a language that “the deaf can hear and the blind can see” (Mark Twain) and in my opinion, every human heart can feel.
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