Mental Health Awareness Week 2020: The importance of being kind

5 May 2020

The secret to a successful, fulfilling life? It’s quite simple: Always be kind! Your actions have a bigger impact than you might think.

Close up of a persons hand touch a kittens paw

Can you remember how you felt the last time somebody was kind to you? Now imagine how others must feel when you are kind to them. Kindness is vital to the human existence and is the most important value to harness.

Words that are often associated with kindness include affection, friendliness, gentleness, warmth, generosity, concern, and care.  Kindness can have a connotation of meaning someone is weak, but it’s actually quite the opposite, and being kind often requires courage and strength.

Survival of the fittest is usually coupled with selfishness, meaning that if you look out for only yourself, you’ll have the best chance of survival.  However, Charles Darwin best known for his contributions to the science of evolution, actually disagreed.  Instead, Darwin believed that mankind are instinctively very social and caring.  There is also research that supports this idea.  Science has shown that giving to others, rather than having more and more for yourself, brings about lasting wellbeing.

There are many ways to practice being kind, from a smile, opening a door, or helping carry a heavy load.  For some more ideas have a look at our article, ‘30 random acts of kindness’ and see if you can incorporate any into your day-to-day life.

Kindness is a willingness to full-heartedly celebrate another’s achievements, and to be openly happy for them, without minimising their success.  It is also about telling the truth in a gentle way when doing so is helpful to the other person.  A key part of growth and flexible thinking is having the courage to give and receive honest feedback.

Kindness also includes being kind to yourself.  Always speak to yourself kindly and gently as it’s important to treat yourself just as well as you’d treat others. For some more tips on how to do this, take a look at ‘How to be kind to yourself’.

Kindness is often underrated, and many don’t realise that being kind will not only strengthen your relationships but also your sense of satisfaction in life.  Kindness is the foundation of basic human connection.  This means that even our future success as a species, our ability to thrive and grow, is also completely dependent upon it.