“Kindfulness,” like “mindfulness” requires self-awareness and being in the present moment. “Kindness is love in action.” That’s how Dr. Tara Cousineau, author of “The Kindness Cure” defines it. But being kind requires setting an intention and making “joyful effort.” When that surly postal worker or the hard-edged garage guy pushes my buttons, for me the biggest challenge is not to respond with the same surly edge. In practice, I’ve discovered my weak spots. If I feel tired or preoccupied and the French postal worker who evidently hated his job, made his snarky comments, I struggled not to defend myself with the same biting sarcasm. I finally decided to be kind to myself by changing post offices to avoid him completely.
Kindness is hardwired into human beings, Dr. Cousineau says. But being kind is often associated with being soft or weak. That’s simply not true, Tara says. “True kindness does not have an agenda or ulterior motive…it’s an instinctual response that can feel highly energized and even fierce,” she says.
Kindness starts with being kind to one’s self. We learn through relationships, Tara says and this is often where we’re tested the most. The more we can learn to treat ourselves with kindness and care, the more we can be kind to others.
One of my favorite aspects of Tara’s exploration of kindness is “kindsight”- insprired from the word, “hindsight.” By kindsight, she means the ability to look back at experiences and look for the good. The mind tends to focus on the negative. But we can flip the negative focus on its head by looking for the gifts and the kindness in seemingly difficult situations from the past. Tara encourages people to take a moment to look back and think of one kind thing that someone has done for them. In the beginning this can be tough for some people. But when the mind begins to search out kind acts, life changes in miraculous ways.
If you’d like to know more about “The Kindness Cure,” listen to the short radio interview with Dr. Tara Cousineau.
Copyright Debra Moffitt, 2017. No portion of this blog post or any material on this blog or site may be reused, reprinted, copied for use online or in print without prior written consent of the author.