Yes, you guessed it another post about kindness but can you really ever say enough about this topic? Nope, you can never have enough kindness.
Today, I wanted to talk about kindness and expectation. Some of you have perhaps heard of the saying “Sometimes we expect more from others because we would be willing to do that much for them” and if you’ve never heard of it before then you have now. And it’s very true, many people can sometimes feel disheartened by others words or actions simply because they themselves wouldn’t act accordingly or at the very least not think they would. We tend to view the world through our own expectations, especially when it comes to our expectations of our fellow human beings and particularly from those we have close relationships and friendships with, people we would consider part of our support network. We feel that because we would be willing to do something why wouldn’t others do the same. Many of us simply cannot understand when other people do not show kindness whenever they can and that can be tough and often confusing.
I would describe myself as such a person. Is that vain? No, I don’t think so. Is that being sensitive? Perhaps a tiny bit but heck having feelings is really no bad thing. But speaking from experience there’s certainly been times where others actions or lack of have made me feel baffled and sadly even hurt at times.
However, we must never let the words or actions (or lack of) of others influence how we ourselves spread happiness and show kindness, nor let it diminish our belief in the number of kind people that there are in the world. We can always adapt how we interact with people and decide to adjust our focus. Rather than dwelling on the people that don’t show kindness or have not been supportive we can decide to focus on those that have been there and demonstrated their kindness. It’s up to us who we confide in and let into our personal cheer squad.
Yes, I know that can be tough. It’s so easy to continually question the negative and feel it eating away at you but just remember that you cannot change other people or their actions but you can change how you react to them. It’s also good to remember that others actions and how they treat you says much more about their character than it does about your own character.
In a similar manner, we must never bestow kindness with the expectation of receiving something in return. One kind act does not automatically give an entitlement to one in return. Yes, it’s very nice to and as I said above we can surround ourselves with people that we know will do their best to show us kindness and comfort when we need it most. We can build ourselves a great support network. However, the real spirit of kindness is not doing something because we expect to receive something in return but doing something kind without the expectation of receiving something back. Simply wishing to do something kind for another. Simply wanting to help them. Simply wanting to cheer them up. There should be no indication of “well if I do something nice for them, they’ll do something nice for me,” or paying a compliment so that you will receive one in return. Also, remember that some people aren’t comfortable receiving compliments and don’t always know how to respond. Kindness shouldn’t be used to pander to egos or boosting your own ego.
Yes, doing an act of kindness can be rewarding and make you feel a warm glow of happiness but that should stem from seeing the effect it has had and seeing someone else’s happiness and gratitude. Being genuinely happy that they are happy without a hint of look at me aren’t I great. Kindness should always be genuine and meant with the best of intentions. This is why I sometimes take issue with posts on social media telling people about how they have just fed a homeless person and so on, often filming themselves doing so. To me, that can seem like bragging and looking for more gratification, which totally undermines the act of kindness, which is supposed to be a selfless act. Or is that just me? I mean it’s lovely to know people are spreading kindness but do they have to personally post about it for likes on Facebook?
Sometimes the greatest act of kindness is doing something for someone you know cannot reciprocate.
So, no matter how the world tries to grind you down or you despair at a lack of humanity always remember how there are still plenty of good people with kind intentions in the world. And when you find them, treasure them like the shiny gems that they are. They are one of the ultimate silver linings.