Kindness

I really like words, and sometimes I wonder if I missed my calling as an etymologist.  Today the word of the day is kindness.  I’m not exactly sure where the word came from but I was thinking about how it starts with kin.  Even though I’m not a real etymologist, I do know that kin is all about family.

Culturally, it seems that we’ve lost grasp of what it actually means to be kind.  As weird as it seems, I’ve noticed that a lot of people use “kind” in a negative way.  When you are “kind” or even “just being kind”, it usually means that you’re being unauthentic.  Instead of telling someone the truth, you settle for being kind and lying in order to make them feel better.  Kindness is kind of just this easy way to avoid reality by putting on a smile.  Here’s a stereotypical kind person conversation “Good morning friend! How’s it going?” …  “I’m good, and you?” … “Doing great now that I had my morning coffee!”.  This leads to an interesting question:  when was the last time you had a conversation like that with a family member?  For me the answer is never.  Very rarely do I waste time making small talk with family members.  When I talk with my family we talk about real things that are actually impacting our lives.

I don’t think that being a kind person has anything to do with being optimistic or happy all the time.  It don’t think it has anything to do with complementing people on their outfits.  I think kindness is all about being real.  Kindness is telling the people you care about that you don’t agree with the destructive decisions they’re making.  Kindness is having the courage to tell someone that you’re struggling and need some help.  It’s time to start putting the kin back in kind!

Life and Matt

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3 thoughts on “Kindness

  1. Hey Matt! Love the blog post. I often think of how I can change up the usual, “I’m doing good, how are you?” I’ve heard that in different cultures, you would never ask anyone how they are doing in passing, because it would be rude, if you weren’t going to take the time to actually see how they are doing. I love the word, “howdy” because it is a greeting that has the connotation of being friendly. I wonder if there are other greetings you’v used or experimented with. I’ve also tried to say “Happy (inset day of the week)” to instill that each day has value and worth (not just Friday or the weekend). Also on the other end, I wonder what I can say when people ask me how I’m doing. I could respond like Fr. Maher, “I’ll make it…” but more seriously, I want my impact on others to be profound and uplifting. In high school, I had someone tell us that he always responds, “better than great.” And I think he was genuine, but I wonder what we could say! I love this idea, I’m eager to here your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really like what you said about choosing a greeting that instills value and worth! I’ve noticed in myself that when I am looking for a genuine response from someone I’ll usually say “How are you” rather than “How’s it going”. Similarly, I’ll usually respond with a short anecdote when I’m being genuine. Whereas I usually just say something like “It’s a good day!” or “Fantastic” if I’m trying to gloss over how I’m actually feeling. In general, I think my goal is to express gratitude in every encounter, no matter how short. I try to illustrate gratitude for everything from the sun shining to the opportunity to be in relationship.

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