#KindnessMatters #BeKind #Kindnessismagic #ChooseKindness …
The above is a small sample of hashtags that constantly trend on social media sites, but what does kindness mean?
Why should one practice kindness? What does the practice of being kind do?
I know – I ask too many questions at once! Let me explain…
I read a quote recently that said:
“Unexplained kindness is the most powerful, least costly and most underrated agent of human change”
– Bob Kerrey
I found this statement extremely profound as it makes perfect sense to me. So, I decided to run a survey of sorts, and I asked the question:
Is kindness the most powerful agent towards human change?
Some said no; money is the most powerful agent (wrong!), others said self-awareness was the key – I can see how that could be true for some… but for those who aren’t self-aware, that can be a huge problem… (leaving that one alone for now).
However, most people I asked, agreed that kindness is the most powerful agent towards human change.
So then, what does it mean to be kind? Are we born kind or is kindness a learned behaviour?
I searched the web for a definition of kindness, and what I found is that there are SO MANY meanings and definitions out there for what kindness means, that it is almost impossible to provide an actual, definitive answer.
The usual dictionary definitions look like:
“Kindness is doing something and not expecting anything in return. Kindness is respect and helping others without waiting for someone to help one back. It implies kindness no matter what.”
“The quality of being generous, helpful and caring about other people, or an act showing this quality.”
Yes, those both make sense, but when I looked further, I found so much more information. There are articles and websites about “random acts of kindness” and information about how to be kind.
– Does society today actually need a ‘how to be kind guide’… (the whole idea seems so ludicrous to me!)
As a society, it seems we have become so isolated that some individuals fail to realise that whatever we say, do or think affects all the rest of life.
What these individuals fail to see is that truly loving, showing compassion and helping others is an act of self-love. Therefore, it can be said that kindness cannot exist without self-love. Therein lies our issue – not everyone loves themselves – a lot of people don’t even remotely like themselves.
Those who lack self-love and compassion are morally disengaged. People who intimidate and seek to control others to achieve their own goals lack integrity and honesty.
These individuals may be able to exhibit signs of kindness, but it’s never genuine. Behind their seemingly kind nature, which is essentially just a mask they wear to suit whatever situation they find themselves in, lies a motive. A dark, destructive motive. Sometimes, they don’t even know it.
Workplace bullies are these types of people, their personalities are dark, and their characters can include traits of narcissism, psychopathy, sociopathy, and in worst case scenarios Machiavellianism.
The worst kind of workplace bullies have personality disorders. They view other people as either “all-good” or “all-bad”. In psychology this is called “splitting” and it is an intensely emotional and contagious epidemic present in way too many workplaces today.
Individuals who use splitting in the workplace increase conflict around them and slowly escalate the conflict as it suits them. They do not seek to resolve conflict. ever.
The workplace bully is capable of being kind, but their kindness is not altruistic, meaning that it is not selfless. Their kindness comes with a price. This is unknown to their victims or potential victims, who are altruistic, well-meaning, genuine humans and have no idea what might just be brewing to hit them like a ton of bricks.
If you have been a victim of workplace bullying, it is likely that the person who bullied you saw you as all-good – further to that, it’s possible that you, being the trusting, kind and genuine person, you are, gave too much of yourself to the bully until it became too intense for them to handle.
Herein lies the split or as I’ll call it – the FLIP! Suddenly, the bully sees you as all-bad and so, the bad-mouthing, harassment, ridicule and bullying begins.
In my opinion, the workplace bully is nothing but an incompetent, manipulative, self-loathing individual who lashes out on others, rather than having the ability to identify his or her own shortcomings. They project their own inadequacies onto others in order to rid themselves of the disdain they have for themselves.
A workplace bully can spot a prospective victim a mile away. You may think they might prey on your weak, unpopular, under-performing colleague. If you think this, you’re wrong.
Workplace bullies victims are more likely to be well-liked, strong, high-performing and highly-ethical individuals.
Why target a competent, skilled employee? Because they are a threat. The workplace bully will elevate their own status or position in an organisation the only way they know how… by pushing others down (as far as possible – and they won’t care about what the consequences for these people will be).
Having been the target of workplace bullies, I can say in no uncertain terms that they are not kind. Kindness does not come naturally to them, nor can it be taught to them. It’s just not in their psychological make-up.
Does this mean we have to stop being #kind or lower our own standards in order to have a successful career? For some, the answer is yes – and yes, they will – because workplace bullies breed more workplace bullies. People who put status, money and being promoted before the health and wellbeing of other people lack scruples and morals and they’re pretty much just… frightening.
I also put “bystanders” in this category – those who watch as you get bullied, who witness you becoming increasingly unwell – and do nothing. A bystander may not have a personality disorder or have the makings of a workplace bully, but they lack integrity and will protect their own butts out of fear of having the same treatment put against them. They watch and do. nothing. This further isolates the victim of workplace bullying as they withdraw into themselves more and more, not wanting to burden others’ with their problems.
(Note: do not ever be a bystander – you won’t regret it).
**(Note to note – the topic of bystanders will be explored in a future post as it is extremely important!).
Kindness DOES MATTER – and at the end of the day, people who are not kind, are not able to display genuine kindness, and are really not equipped to do so should not be surprised to find themselves at the end of their lives very much alone.