Kindness and Giving
by: Meimei Hammer
Kindness and giving most of the time go hand in hand. However, there is a major difference between the two.
The dictionary says, “Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate”.
The RAK or Random Acts of Kindness was founded in 1995 to inspire people to practice kindness and to encourage other people to do it. This group serves as a resource for groups, communities, and individuals to spread kindness.
From the RAK group sprang the RAKtivists, the what we call activists for kindness. According to them, Kindness is the ability and desire to have a positive impact on others, extending yourself in a way that uplifts another human being”.
In being kind, a person is friendly, considerate, and generous, coupled with affection, warmth, concern, and many other words that are associated with kindness.
There is a sincere effort to share one’s time, expertise, and resources to better the lives of others in kindness. This does not necessarily involve sharing of wealth. It could be a sincere expression of compassion, generosity, service, and using one’s own time to render service to improve someone’s life.
According to Mark Twain: “Kindness is the language which the deaf and the blind can see”. Very true indeed, there are many things that are immaterial but convey joy and happiness that the blind and the deaf wouldn’t normally see or hear.
Is kindness important to our lives? For a person who is innately kind, it is extremely important because it gives him the feeling of being good about himself. Doing little things for other people as simple as holding an old woman’s elbow while crossing the street, giving up his position in a long supermarket queue, a simple smile and good morning to a person on the street, or giving encouragement to a neighbor who is feeling down makes a person feel warm inside, feeling a sense of accomplishment. Kindness is a symbiotic relationship, just like respect. Just like the saying “love begets love, kindness also begets kindness”
When was the last time you cooked something and took the effort to give a bowl of that to your neighbor? Sooner or later you will find that neighbor knocking at your door with a plate of cookies!
Kindness is a strength not a weakness. Sometimes it is viewed as a weakness when the kind person is gullible to extend kindness to unworthy people. There will always be opportunists in this world who will take advantage of a kind act. However, a kind person learns, just like the saying that goes, “fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice, shame on me”. Yes the opportunists will lose the second chance, the chance when they will need kindness the most.
Kindness is giving hope to those who think they have nobody in this world. All of a sudden, they see a cloudless sky and opportunities open up with kindness, a helping hand with a helping heart. A kind person speaks with love and acts with compassion.
There is a beautiful line I read years ago: ““The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” How true!
With kindness comes giving, either physical or emotional. A person shares and relates to the other person with love, to help alleviate his physical shortcomings, emotional imbalance and despair, or financial to offer the other person help to make it for another day or to start over a new life.
KINDNESS MAKES YOU HEALTHY
Believe it or not, kindness does something good for your health. That feeling of joy after doing an act of kindness contributes to good health.
Here are six science-backed ways to improve your health through kindness.
- Kindness releases feel-good hormones – dopamines, serotonins and endorphins are released by your body.
- Kindness eases anxiety – once you feel good, you release anxiety making you feel calm.
- Kindness is good for your heart – with the release of the feel good hormones and the calm without anxiety, you are helping your heart.
- It can help you live longer.
- It reduces stress.
- Kindness prevents illness- when they say that laughter is the best medicine, they were not joking. A happy person gets less sick days than an unhappy one. When your heart is bursting of joy because of a good act of kindness, the whole body system becomes healthy!
KINDNESS IMPROVES QUALITY OF LIFE
Kindness improves our quality of life in the workplace. It also improves the quality of people in the community. It brings people together; it makes people unite for a common good. Doing good to others makes a person feel good. My personal experience, showing kindness to others without bragging about it or publicly announcing it, is the most rewarding feeling I ever had!
Giving on the other hand is an act of generosity. He doesn’t have to be kind to give. There are a few reasons why people give. It is an act of virtue, the act of giving something either abstract or concrete
A simple example of kindness and generosity is, when a person comforts a crying child, that is kindness. When a person donates to the church, that is giving or generosity.
The act of giving may either involve kindness or not. If a person donates huge amounts of money to have his picture on the front pages of a newspaper does not involve kindness. If a person helped victims of an earthquake then doesn’t stop publicly announcing the good deed, loses its weight in gold.
People give for many reasons, which could be personal, motivated by kindness, or as an obligation to society. There are those who give for political purposes, to be recognized, to be have this act of giving publicized for a purpose, he is giving yes, but there is no kindness. If a person donates tithe to the church to be recognized as a good Christian even if what he does outside is unlawful, there is no kindness, just giving. If a person comforts a crying child because the noise annoyed him, there is no kindness.
Many people take advantage of the kindness of a person, or of a giving person. Give them your hand, the saying goes, and they will eat your elbow. A kind and giving person therefore should be aware of this. After all, there is a saying: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”.
The acts of kindness and giving should be cultivated in our lives early in life. Parents can set an example to the child while giving him the reasons for the action.
Kindness and giving are interrelated but there is a difference between the two. Kindness comes from the heart, it refers to being considerate, caring, and even loving to other people and then, being helpful. Whereas giving is an act, it could stem from the kindness of the heart, motivated for a personal purpose, it could be an act without meaning, or it could stem from an automatic response to an event.
We have to practice both as we sail in the sea of life.