It’s a mad, bad, fast-paced, cut-throat world. Road rage is rife, there are gargantuan economic disparities within and between societies and there’s an epidemic of anxiety and depression.
Not surprisingly, in this dog eat dog environment, kindness is scarce.
You can’t control other people’s behaviour or actions. If someone hurts your feelings or the feelings of those you love, you can only accept that not everyone has the same moral values or capacity to empathise and move on.
Along with measuring intelligence quotient, (IQ ) there’s also a measure of emotional intelligence called EQ. Studies have found that bullies tend to have low EQs – they don’t comprehend the pain they inflict via their actions. This may go some way to explaining why some people have tendency to ride rough shod over others.
Empathy is a value I discuss regularly with my students. They’re teenagers so you don’t expect high degrees of empathy from most of them at a stage of life when it’s all about them. But that doesn’t mean as parents (and teachers) we can’t try to help them value kindness. Of treating others how we would like to be treated.
If you’re feeling as if empathy has been in short supply recently, pick yourself up by upping your own game. By that I mean, while you can’t control how others treat you, you can control how you deal with it. Turning negative experiences into positives is good for your well-being.
So if you’ve experienced a kindness deficit recently, try generating some. Improving someone else’s day creates a feel good factor that benefits the giver as much of the receiver. Here’s a few random acts of kindness to try. Let me know yours:
- Give your spare parking ticket to someone lining up to pay for one
- Give up your space in a queue for the mum or dad with the crying toddler
- Make a meal for a neighbour or take them some home baking
- Pick flowers and give them to a work colleague, just beacause
- Buy a friend a coffee on the way to work
- Write card and send it to a friend you haven’t see for ages
- Take your neighour’s wheelie bins in off the street if you’re home before them