Deep kindnessBy Houston Kraft

About the book

The author’s connect with kindness and the need to spread the word for kindness is propelled by an incident wherein he heard the story of a young lady who sat and cried at the Airport for two long hours after hearing the news of her father‘s death. Not a single person stopped to help or ask if she needed anything.

The premise of this book is based on the fact that our culture considers kindness as a “nice to have” rather than a nonnegotiable.

His hope is to equip the world with a realisation that “deep kindness” is an imperative necessity.

The author has given many tools for self introspection. A bite size integration of deep kindness into your daily or weekly practises will change not just what you do but who you are.

Who is it for

Everybody

Key takeaways

  1. Kindness is one of these essential things that we collectively see as good but we collectively are not very good at. Kindness is not normal. The widening gap between moral knowing and kind action is a quiet epidemic that many will diagnose in others, but if you will treat in themselves.
  2. Types of kindness:A. Common kindness: Politeness and pleasantries that are demonstrative of basic respect. These acts of kindness are not necessarily changing anyone’s world but are nonetheless needed.B. Confetti kindness: Feel good kindness, associated with warm fuzzies like pay it forward coffee lines.These actions of fun and generosity provide hope that people are doing good in the world that can sometimes be bleak. One can never dismiss the value of confetti kindness as these are movements that can encourage a smile, change your day or even inspire movement sometimes.Common kindness or confetti kindness are foundational for the ongoing work of deep kindness. C. Deep kindness: The sort of generosity that expects nothing in return. The unconditional care that is given despite a person’s shortcomings or ugliness. The commitment to consistent thought and action that proves over time that your giving is not dependent on circumstance or convenience. It requires something more than politeness or even an honest desire to help. It is a byproduct of a whole lot of emotional intelligence coming together in concert to perform an action that may look externally simple but is quite internally complicated. It is the type of kindness we must teach if we are ever going to live in a world that is less divisive and more compassionate. Deep kindness requires empathy and perspective taking. Deep kindness requires resilience. It takes immense fortitude to offer kindness, get rejected and hurt, and then return to give kindness again. Mark Twain said “kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see”.Deep kindness requires courage. The willingness to take great risk at personal cost and expose yourself to judgement, mockery and failure in order to demonstrate that you care. To extend your own ego to the walls, knowing that perhaps there is someone who needs you on the far side of fear. Do not let insecurities interfere with the courage you rummage to show kindness.Insecurities are merely fears we believe in. They are the make-believe monsters that we have convinced ourselves are real. Tom Hanks, famous line from “a league of their own” resonates here, “it is supposed to be hard. If it was not hard, everyone would do it.”Deep kindness requires forgiveness. It asks us to see others through the generous perspective of hope and believe that people are capable of growth.
  3. Empathy gap: The American Psychological Association reveals the average student today has as much anxiety as the average psychiatric patient from 1950s. The research out of the University of California, San Diego tells us that we are exposed to about 34 GB of information a day. It is an overwhelming load of information that is and curated and unprocessed. Empathy has dropped 40% in college age students since the year 2000. This sharp decline in our ability to show empathy is due to the invasive nature in which these various Tech inventions and advancements have stormed our lives. These inventions have stolen our most valuable currency – attention. Apparently, Apps are easier to deal with, than attitude. Empathy gives kindness it’s why.Dr Michele Borba, in her book “unselfie”, says that when anxiety increases, empathy decreases. This is called the empathy gap and it appears to be widening. It is really cause and effect – the more worried I am about what’s going on in my life, the harder it will be for me to worry and be empathetic to your life and its ways.
  4. The kind of Kindness the world needs :
    • Is one that starts with understanding. It knows that a connection is cultivated not clicked on. It is not a “nice to have” but a “must have”.
    • Is the one that helps us feel less alone (did you know, loneliness will reduce your life span as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day)
    • Is rooted in the desire for common good
    • Is specific and intentional
    • Is deeply capable and thoughtfully cultivated emotional intelligence
    • It pays better attention. It listens better in order to love better
    • Is an understanding that kindness will almost always cost us are comfort and usually our convenience.
    • Is free from expectations of what you get in return, rejection or otherwise
    • Is the one that willingly accepts helplessness. It is the kind that acknowledges that no effort towards compassion will ever be perfect. The imperfect action of kindness is almost always better than the failure to act at all.
    • It takes a stand, knowing with absolute certainty that it is more convenient to sit.
    • It is the kind that is willingly different when it is easier to be normal
    • It is the kind that gives from a place of abundance and enoughness
  5. Shift from a culture of character to a culture of personality:Susan Cain in her book “Quiet and the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop thinking”, does an experiment where she flips through self help books from a 100 years ago. At that time in history, the frequent flyers were words like honour, humility, courage and character. The books of today found words like charisma, charm, popular and funny. She writes that we have shifted from a culture of “character” to a culture of “personality”. Dominant personality traits are more or less set by the age of seven. Character on the other hand, is shaped by the choices we make every day. This cultural shift has caused a slow and steady decline in our inner abilities to give kindness as the focus is more on building an outward persona.
  6. People do well when the can: There is no formal coming of age ceremony. There is no degree you get handed at a certain age, stating that your social and emotional skills are fully developed. And there is certainly no guarantee that just because you are no longer a kid, you can resolve problems. Everyone wants to be kind. But sometimes our desires do not match our abilities. If I have unresolved problems in my life, I am inept to use the tools in my toolbox to navigate them. There will be plenty of examples where my actions do not align with my ideals. People do well when they can. CAN is flexible and allows improvement.
  7. How we engage with the world:We all have three profound everyday choices about how we engage with the world around us:Apathy:I don’t care if others get wet in the rain, if I get to stay drySympathy: Here’s an umbrella, hope it helpsEmpathy: Standing in rain togetherIf we do not align our actions to what we say we care about, we are creating an ideal imaginary world, not a real one.
  8. The generous lens: Forgive people. Forgiveness is freedom from long held patterns that we are reliving. It offers fresh insights into familiar patterns. What if we always give ourselves permission to at least try on a more generous lens. We cannot so sow with clenched fistAdolfo Perez Esquivel We must open our hands and our hearts to the possibility that every person story is forgivable – including our own.
  9. Trust: The kind of kindness the world needs, acknowledges that rarely is deep kindness received without some level of trust.To build trust, required for someone to receive deep kindness, we must understand the building blocks of trust. People need three primary things – empathy, authenticity and consistency. Do they believe that you understand them? Do they believe that your effort is genuine and rooted in honest intention? Do they believe that your action today is in alignment with what you will do tomorrow and the day after tomorrow?Your action must be free from external expectation and feel authentic in your desire for the highest good – not your ego or what you may get in return. In some situations you must prove that you mean it by showing up again and again.Show up and then show up again and then show up when they least expect you to. These are key ingredients of trust.
  10. Success in kindness is dependent on our willingness to face failure. There is no guarantee that an act of kindness is going to work or help someone in a way we might hope. In kindness, failure is more often about inaction than action.
  11. Hopelessness is “efforts” greatest enemy and effort is a critical ingredient in any act of kindness. Did you know that 45% of our day is built on routine. That means 45% of our week is habit-based. Which means, 45% of our month is habitual. Which means, almost half of our lives are spent on autopilot. Habits shape everything we do. If 45% of your day is habitual, that means even a 1% difference over time is going to have a far greater impact than any one-time action. Your 1% change towards a more compassionate life can make a remarkable difference.1% change changes everything. The difference between water becoming steam is 1°. And that 1°, that’s steam – which can powertrains and cities.

Published by oberoimehak

Full time mother and overworked lawyer who likes to spend the 25th hour mulling over life, spirituality, parenthood, relationships and other creative pursuits that crack its way through her over enthusiastic brain. Follow me if feminism, women empowerment, spirituality or just the basic dogmas imposed by the society; intrigue you.

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