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kindness not for the weak


In this issue of RELATIONSHIP CALISTHENICS - Kindness is not for the weak Hello, it is so good to communicate with you - My book is coming along very well, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your contributions. You will see your input at different points throughout, making it in many ways “our” book. I do hope you will continue to contribute. Facebook This past week I posted a request on Facebook. I asked for the magic bullet in having a loving relationship. There were many very different responses, and I loved them all, but kindness was the number one response. This fascinated me because kindness can be rather conceptual.  In other words, it might be important to me that we have kindness in our relationship, but what if I think you are not kind and you think you are? Do I now have permission to drop the kindness due to my perception of your unkindness? And when I say kind, is it the same as when you say kind?  Probably not.  I find it easy to say what’s on my mind, and for many, that would not be considered kind. They might even see me as a bit harsh or brash.  Some people are very passive, and you never know where you stand – is that kind? Still, others think it kind to keep their opinions to themselves – this might be kind unless you are both on a team trying to reach the same goal. In that case, wouldn’t it be more kind to express everything? (In a marriage?) Authentically My fascination led to this week’s Relationship’s Calisthenics essay being on Kindness. Kindness – The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate Affection, gentleness, warmth, concern, and care are words that are associated with kindness. While kindness can have a connotation of meaning someone is naive or weak, that is not really the case.  It takes great strength and courage to be authentically kind. Kindness requires a sense of self that is connected to others. It is complex thinking - one that allows for a personal view while at the same time, a collective one. ~I am me while I am also my relationship couple. ~We are us while at the same time we are our family. ~We are our family, while at the same time, we are our community.  Sympathy and caring for others is instinctual because we are a profoundly social and caring species (Scientific American, 2017). While at the same time, we are driven first to our own survival. The survival of the fittest is usually associated with selfishness. But that is not the case; it has been proven repeatedly that while we will look out for ourselves, we will instinctively do so to protect or support others. We are especially concerned for those we are connected to, be it biologically or by choice. Weaker Science has now shown that devoting our resources to others, rather than having more for ourselves, brings about lasting well-being. Kindness is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in a long term relationship (Psychology Today). It is the weaker of us that tend to be the most selfish and less generous, according to a Harvard Study. Those who tend to be most fearful are also more self-concerned and tend to be selfish. Could fear then rob us of our authentically kind nature? Does it give rise to creating a facade to look kind while inside being vindictive? There are different ways to practice kindness. One way to be kind is to open your eyes - opening your eyes means noticing when others are suffering. A kind word, a smile, opening a door, or helping carry a heavy load can all be acts of kindness. Kindness is also about telling the truth gently. The truth can hurt, to be kind is to be sensitive to that. Receiving accurate feedback is an essential part of a trusted relationship. The courage to give and receive truthful feedback is a critical component of growth and flexible thinking. How About You Kindness also includes being kind to yourself. All of which require us to develop and practice courage. Kindness, like long term, committed relationships, is not for the weak. Share your thoughts on kindness with me. You may very well find your story in Chapter Twelve of my new book. Learn more about kindness and the other Love Sparks when my new book is released at the end of 2020.  Love Sparks: The Power of a Relationship on Fire. Love, Honor, and Respect, Thomas


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