In a World Where You Can Be Anything, Be Kind
As kindness feels more important than ever right now, we wanted to explore it in more detail and think about why it’s so important.
What is kindness?
Being kind is the act of being considerate and helpful to others and even kind to yourself, too. Being kind isn’t about expensive gifts or big grand gestures. It can be the little things that make the giver and receiver feel good about themselves. Kindness is a superpower that can do the following:
- Make someone smile
- Give someone hope
- Give someone a boost of confidence
- Make someone feel valued
Here are some simple, everyday examples of how you can be kind to others:
- Sharing something with a friend
- Taking care of a person or animal
- Checking in with a neighbour, friend, or family member
- Writing a thoughtful note for someone
- Wishing someone a happy birthday
- Helping to clean up at home
- Letting someone go in front of you in a queue
- Donating, raising money, or volunteering for a charity or a good cause
Why is kindness important?
Kindness is a simple act of saying ‘you matter’, which is so important. It can be really valuable to strengthen our relationships and connections with both others and ourselves. Being kind can make us feel good, and when there’s so much happening in the world that isn’t so nice, kindness is something we could all do with more of!
Why is kindness sometimes seen as weakness?
In a world where there is sometimes an emphasis on qualities like boldness, toughness, and confidence, qualities that require thought and care sometimes get a reputation for being weak. But in reality, it takes practice, inner confidence, and strength of character to be kind. In fact, there’s nothing weak about kindness at all, and the more we give and receive it, the stronger we might feel.
Here are just a few strong prominent figures in history who have shown real kindness
- Marcus Rashford - who began his campaign in 2020 for free school meals for all children.
- Harold Lowe - who was an officer onboard the *Titanic* in 1912. He manned the only lifeboat to repeatedly return to the sinking ship to save passengers.
- Miep Gies - who, along with others, helped to hide Anne Frank and her family from Nazi persecution in 1942.
Can kindness change the world, do you think?
What happens in the brain when we give or receive kindness?
When we give or receive kindness, it often makes us feel great, and there’s actually some pretty big science behind this feeling! Giving or receiving kindness gives us a boost of feel-good hormones and sends happy signals to the part of our brain responsible for experiencing pleasure. So, all those warm feelings you might get when you give or receive kindness are almost like your brain lighting up with joy!
What about when people aren’t kind?
When people aren’t kind to others, it can be hurtful and even have a lasting effect on that person, affecting their confidence and their self-esteem. Sometimes people are unkind on purpose, and sometimes people are unkind without realizing it.
Here are just some examples of what unkindness might look like:
- Writing something hurtful about another person on social media
- Leaving someone out
- Using hurtful language to or about someone
- Not helping someone when they are struggling
- Being unsupportive
If you want to make a conscious effort to be kinder to others, a good tip is to ask yourself, before you do or say something, ‘is this kind, is this helpful and is this true? If the answers to at least two of those questions are no, pause and reconsider before you act or speak.
When being kind is not that simple:
Of course, it’s also important to note that sometimes, what looks like behavior that is unkind might actually be a little more complicated. Here are a few things to consider:
- Sometimes, you might have to distance yourself from a friend who isn’t being kind to you.
- Sometimes, you might need to focus on your own needs/problems, so you don’t have the headspace to support anyone else.
- Sometimes, someone else's issues might feel too much for you, and you can’t support them in the way they might want or expect.
In these situations, however, it might look to others, and being kind to yourself needs to take priority.
Why might it be difficult to give or receive kindness?
Kindness sounds like a pretty simple act to practice, and there are so many benefits, but it’s not always that straightforward. Let’s take a closer look.
There are many barriers to being kind, such as:
- You might fear rejection because of previous experiences (e.g. perhaps someone hasn’t been that kind to you).
- You might feel embarrassed (e.g. sometimes people see kindness as a less valuable quality or as something that makes them look softer or gentler than they want to appear).
- It might be something you don’t feel you have time for (e.g. you might feel too busy at school or work to think about being kind as well).
How can we be kinder to ourselves?
Lots of people try to be kind to others, but they might forget to be kind to themselves. Being kind to ourselves is sometimes harder, but it is just as important. Practicing self-care is a simple way to show kindness to yourself.
Taking physical care of ourselves might include:
- Eating and drinking enough in a day
- Getting your body moving
- Practicing good hygiene
Taking emotional care of ourselves might include:
- Catching up with a friend
- Talking to yourself with kindness
- Expressing how you feel
- Taking a break from studies by doing something you enjoy
Want to incorporate the Importance of Kindness into your Lumio Classroom? Kooth and Lumio have partnered up to bring you free, engaging, mental wellness lesson content to your classroom. Get started with the lessons below today:
The Importance of Kindness for Grades 5-8
The Importance of Kindness for Grades 9-12
For more on our partnership with Kooth, head over to the Lumio X Kooth resources page.