Have I been kind?
Many times, I find myself asking this question. The answer I get each time is revealing. I am frequently unkind. To myself and others. Short with my time and words and harsh with my flaws.
But what is kindness, really? I used to mistake kindness for being ‘nice.’ It resulted in a lot of people-pleasing and porous boundaries. Now I know kindness doesn’t mean condoning someone’s actions. It doesn’t mean forced forgiveness. It doesn’t mean forgetting your own needs while prioritizing others.
I don’t have a definition of kindness. But over time, I think kindness goes beyond bubble baths and candle-lit nights. Kindness is that voice that takes you on a path of compassionate action.
Kindness can mean pushing myself on a day when I feel lazy. It can also mean allowing my body to rest when I feel lazy.
Kindness can mean saying yes. It also means saying no.
Kindness can mean a hug. Or a push.
On social media, for me, kindness means:
🔸Appreciating someone for their content. (All those likes, reposts, and comments count)
🔸Giving a shout-out and lifting others up.
🔸Sending a DM or two when you can – not networking – just connecting.
🔸Refusing to troll. (If you are verbally abusing someone on social media, that says everything about you)
🔸Being respectful in disagreeing.
This is what kindness is to me online, but some wonderful people have better answers than me.
I wrote this feature as part of the Big Story feature for the Sunday Deccan Herald on kindness.
Would you be kind enough to read it?
What does kindness mean to you? What acts of kindness can you practice today?