Kindness as the foundation for a liveable world
How can something like kindness make for a better world? It seems too soft and subtle to make any difference… Maybe we have all become used to the hard edge of life; of law, of rules and of being treated in a depersonalised and inconsiderate way. To be in the world, apparently, one has to have a thick skin.
Where in your life do you suffer the bad temper and moodiness of others, on a regular ongoing basis? Or your own? And what do you have to do in your body to cope or protect yourself from that?
If laws and rules are the way society has had to deal with people behaving badly (to generalise), maybe it would be possible to bring about change by becoming more courteous, thoughtful and considerate. Violence, bad behaviour, lack of consideration, dishonesty are all learned behaviours. Children watch adults and learn from them, from very early how to treat others and what to expect from others. Looking at society and the amount of laws we need to keep behaviour in check, some of these children grow up with a ‘normal’ of unkindness ( to put it mildly, but foundationally) but with the adult strength and power to do major damage.
Political correctness, I believe, is not the full answer. When there is hate speech, the deeper problem than what is said, is that the ‘normal’ is that it’s ok to talk about others in an unkind way.
There appears to be a deep seated feeling, or conviction even, of entitlement, to having the right to say ‘what one believes’ in the most un-nuanced, judgemental and unkind way sometimes, over and beyond the responsibility and accountability for what that level of unkindness does to our society. There are many other options for expressing one’s views (after first thinking whether they are really so important at all) that are emotionally intelligent and non-flammable and respectful of the other person(s); generalised or no.
So kindness is the go and obviously that’s nothing new. Non-violence in action, thought and speech is a philosophy for living from way back. However it needs to be further embodied and actioned. But for it work, it needs to be practised in the smallest of ways. Think of yourself first. Because kindness to self, will automatically trigger kindness to everything else. That is how powerful kindness is; subtle but strong and transformative.
Margot Broug 2019