It’s World Kindness Day 2020.
We know kindness matters. We tell our kids to be kind.
But how kind are you, really, to the person you have chosen to spend your life with, on a day-to-day basis?
How friendly are you? How generous? How considerate?
Do you ask them how they’re doing, and properly listen to the response?
Do you act like you’re on their side?
Kindness, Empathy, and Compassion
When they’re grumpy or distant, thoughtless or negative, do you remember that people get like that when a part of them is feeling hurt or afraid?
Do you do what you need to do to calm yourself down so that you can look for the small child in them, and what it might need?
I’m not talking about justifying or accepting behaviour that causes you harm, to be clear.
We must always hold our own boundaries – in fact it’s vital if we are to maintain the compassionate stance I’m advocating.
As Brene Brown explains,
“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.”
Kindness Means Fighting Injustice
If to be unkind is to be harsh, to be kind is to be gentle.
It was apparently Ian Maclaren who first said,
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
It’s good advice.
And we must remember too that some are fighting harder battles than others.
The ultimate kindness is a willingness to reflect on our biases, and acknowledge injustice wherever we encounter it.
True kindness includes facing and challenging our own sexist expectations.
Remember always that social change begins at home.
How might kindness include looking at your relationship differently this World Kindness Day?
Staying Kind When Under Stress
If you’ve been struggling to be kind to your partner, especially while under the stress of a global pandemic, check out my self-paced online course which you can do on your own or with a partner, Love In Lockdown.
This course is made up of a series of short videos which will talk you through how to:
- Cope with spending much more time at home together together
- Recognise when a disagreement is becoming unproductive and know what to do next
- Deal with feelings of overwhelm so that they don’t get in the way of you being the parent and partner you want to be
- Understand how your different approaches to coping with stress might cause problems in your relationship, and what each of you can do to avoid this
- Move from irritated by to accepting of each other’s habits, even when it’s hard to get any space from each other
This World Kindness Day, remember that couples who are kindest to each other are happiest together.