Converge International - Mental Fitness - Page 39



I came to realise that ‘kind’ is a much more interesting and
complex word. As I’ve grown and gained more life experience, I
now understand that ‘kind’ and ‘kindness’ aren’t always nice, soft
or easy. Kind and kindness are words that are strong, powerful
and often the hardest work to do. Kindness also holds a range of
powerful messages that can change each of us, our community,
and the world.
Kindness is like a muscle, and it needs to be flexed, trained, to help
it grow and be more powerful, more useful. It requires practice to
build its fitness, and when kindness is fit and healthy, it is a crucial
element of our mental wellbeing, our mental fitness.
Let’s explore this concept of kindness and seek to understand
what it isn’t, what it is, and how to improve its fitness.
What kindness isn’t
The problem is, there seems to be a
lot of confusion about what it is to
be kind.
I was running a workshop recently,
discussing kindness and its
benefits.
Everybody agreed that kindness
was a good thing and that they all
displayed it in some way. When
they were asked what kindness is, I
was not surprised that nearly
everyone struggled to define
kindness without merely using a
range of synonyms.
When I asked them to tell me what
‘kind’ wasn’t, there was a flood of
thought and insight. I found it
fascinating, but not surprising.
‘Kind’ has been smothered and
scuttled for too many years.
The challenge ‘kindness’ faces due
to the confusion around what
‘kind’ means often results in it
being confused as another of
those less useful four-letter
words. No, I don’t mean those
words, the ones we had to wash
our mouths out for..... or was that
just me? I mean words like nice,
soft, weak and easy.
These words may suggest
kindness to some, but they are
just platitudes. Kind isn’t any of
these things, not even close. Kind
isn’t nice, it’s not soft, it’s not
weak, and it isn’t always easy.
What do I mean? Kind and nice
aren’t friends.

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