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Being kind

October 01 2023
© Chris Bird © Chris Bird

Although we may have reasons not to feel like being kind, sharing kindness is good for you and the people around you. A study in being kind, by Leon Eckford

It’s hard to be kind. For kindness to inform your daily personal operations takes discipline and expert emotional regulation.

I mean, life can be punishing to navigate and each individual experience is so unique, being informed by multiple factors dependent on strands of well-being attached to our thoughts and feelings, manifesting in our behaviours.
And if each one of us has our own mind and body, is it even possible to perceive something in the exact same way as others?

This is an epistemological question because it concerns what we are ultimately capable of knowing and what, conversely, we can never know.

What’s kind to me, might be standard normalcy to another and on and on. A good way to analyse your kindness barometer is to ask yourself: Am I acting selfishly or selflessly? Try your very best to do the right thing. We all have a moral compass and intrinsically we often feel when we’re into the red area of being a selfish twat.

Problems arise when that same compass has been affected by what environment we’ve been raised in, who was responsible for cementing our values as primary care givers and what we’ve experienced from others during developmental years

I think that as human beings, with the same human nature, there’s a strong likelihood that we can, and do, share the same perceptions as others, just that, ultimately, we can’t know for sure if what we experience is ever exactly the same as what others do. Unless we somehow had the ability to assume the position of someone else and experience life from their mind and body, we can only presume that people, being people, are fairly alike, and hence would share certain qualities, hopefully resulting in a desire to be kind. 

So how can we project this kindness?

Listen and learn

From a supporting perspective, listening is the first key to opening the door to being kinder. Like really listening, not just hearing words and testimony.


Smile at people and don’t be too hurried not to give a little time and energy. I know both are precious commodities, however the chances are you’ve wasted years sat in front of the TV or burrowing down YouTube rabbit holes, so make the sacrifice and share a few minutes.


My Grandmother was right, saying please and thank you makes a huge difference – manners cost fuck all and for god’s sake, give your seat up on the tube for the elderly and infirm, or just someone who needs it more than you.

Be kind to yourself

Finally, most importantly and a note to self here: remember self-compassion. We’re all our own worst critics, so take some time out to remind yourself how unique, brilliant and special you are.