What is Kindness?

“Kindness in words creates confidence.

Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.

Kindness in giving creates love.”

~ Lao Tzu

I was reminded of these profound thoughts by Lao Tzu the other day as I was talking to a friend. I saw that she was under a tsunami warning, so I called to make sure she was ok. She was, and then she thanked me and told how kind I was. 

In the course of our (very long) conversation we started talking about that statement. We all speak about kindness but what is kindness really? After much in-depth conversation we realized that kindness was different to each soul on this planet. “Kindness was as different as each sunset and as necessary as every breath we take” she said. 

Our own kindness isn’t up to us to define, the kindness others show to us is! Kindness is defined only by those who our actions affect and those who witness them. We can’t define or understand our own actions until they have been assessed by others. For instance, you might have the kindnest of intentions to tell a friend something but once you do, your friend is crushed and their life is changed. You thought you were being kind but were you?

Doing your best to be kind is a lifestyle and a learned behavior not an every now and then dalliance. Kindness is a deserved outcome of your loving and aware actions. Kindness is also something you deserve to have happen no matter whether you are the one giving the kindness or receiving it!

As my friend and I continued to talk about kindness, I asked her, deep down, what kindness actually felt like? We made our way through the usual descriptions but pressed each other to dig deeper for more and more. Finally, after a long pause she brought up a quote of mine. “Kindness is what the thorn must feel as it sees the rose bloom. “ I threw one of her’s back at her. “Kindness is the wind knowing it will cool you on a hot day and the stream being willing to offer itself for you.”

So what is kindness, how does it make you feel, why is it? The answers, as my friend Running Sky would say, are as plentiful as the stars in the sky.  The only thing I know for sure is that I wish you kindness in your life. I wish you the gift of feeling kindness building from within and the feeling of kindness washing over you from the outside.