What is the art of kindness?
Resilience in the workplace, resilience in life. Last week at SACARE, Alex Killey, the Lifestyle Coordinator shared with us the top tools for resilience and wellbeing. In lead up to the presentation, we each completed a character strengths test, which enabled us to know more about the qualities that come to us more naturally.
From the 24 character strengths within the different degrees wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence, we shared our top five with the rest of the team to gather an overall analysis of company’s character strengths. Our number one strength? Kindness.
Recently, kindness has been something that has been thrust upon me more than ever since I started work at SACARE in Human Resources. Coming into this line of work that has a strong emphasis on humanity has given me a new perspective and insight into empathy and kindness. It in itself sounds quite simple but to put into action in day-to-day life, outside of work, is another thing entirely.
I will be honest in saying that I’m not always the best at making time for people. My friends can go for days without responses to texts. Whilst I’m extremely open and friendly I will hold back on being overly kind to new people as I find it awkward to share that level of perceived closeness and care to someone new in my life. In turn I do not always show due care to those I’m close to as I mistakenly assume they know they matter.
What I am learning is that kindness in its pure essence is not reserved for close relationships nor is it left to assumptions, it is more empowering when it is offered to those whose situations you do not know, those who you do not really know.
To be kind does not mean to be fond or invested in.
Kindness also means something different to each individual. I recently attempted to measure my own capabilities to show this particular action/emotion and was nothing short of horrified by the results. I asked my friends about my key traits and received the following: friendly, bubbly, outgoing, social and loyal. I then asked about kindness and whilst it was reassuring to hear that I’m trustworthy and someone to come to I was also made aware I don’t always make people feel wanted. To many that is kindness. The feeling of want and care from another.
In short I learned a valuable lesson that kindness is in fact words and actions. It is showing that you care and not just assuming those close to you, or even strangers are aware that you think of them.
Kindness is being interested and showing effort and practicing selflessness. It is replying to text messages regardless of whether you’re busy or not.
To me I think it is the main action in society that is not represented enough. How often are we really kind to one another? How often do we take the empathetic road as opposed to the judgmental one?
So much in society now is not a representation of kindness. All we need to do is turn on the television and we will come across an opportunity to inadvertently judge one another.
So peeps let’s take a minute out to just practice kindness. Ask someone close to you how they are just because you want to check in not because you’re keen to catch up for a drink on the weekend and it’s appropriate to start the convo with a question.
Ask a person you are not close to at work how things are with them, not to invade their privacy but to show you have an interest and care about their lives.
It’s little, but in the world we currently live in we could use a lot more of small acts of kindness.
By Kelly Ferguson