Kindness Is Not Weakness, It’s Survival

Kindness Is Not Weakness, It’s Survival

“Treat everyone with politeness and kindness, not because they are nice, but because you are.” – Roy T. Bennett

Kindness is free. It’s one of the best resources we can give and receive and it comes from within. That quote above perfectly captures the essence of kindness. We must give kindness to others not because of who they are but because of who we are.

Some people will tell you kindness is weakness. They say don’t put effort into being kind to people who won’t do the same for you. They say spreading kindness makes you vulnerable and weak. They say you need to be “strong” to survive as if kindness is not derived from our own inner strength.

The concept of “survival of the fittest” has been passed around societies for some time now. Much the same as the concept of the “alpha male” in wolf packs, however, more recent research is showing it may come down to survival of the kindest and friendliest.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, so how could kindness ever help you survive?

Blending In and Finding Acceptance

According to the research from Brian Hare (Ph.D.) and Vanessa Woods (M.SciComm) at Duke, “In the history of evolution, friendliness often proceeds unusual evolutionary success, meaning that friendly species prevail over time.”

When we reject kindness and instead lead with nothing but brute strength, we are often left alone. People find us abrasive and don’t want us in their circle out of fear we may cause strife from within.

The Duke research linked above shows us that a key to survival is to blend in and be accepted into groups. The way in? You guessed it: kindness.

What is Kindness?

So, what does it mean to be kind?

When we look at the Merriam-Webster dictionary, we see kindness defined as “to be kind” and then we look to the definition of “kind” which is “arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance.”

Everyone knows kindness is sympathy. We show compassion and care for those around us and the circumstances they face. But that last word – forbearance – highlights a part of kindness we often neglect. Forbearance is to be patient and tolerant.

With survival of the fittest, we are constantly trying to elbow out competitors and stand alone at the top. With survival of the kindest, we help others rise above and get to new heights alongside us. No one person needs to rise above the rest. We have the resources and opportunities to provide for each other instead of just supporting ourselves.

What Good is Kindness Kept Within?

We all have kindness within ourselves and the purpose is not to hold it in but to give it to one another. If everyone is waiting around for someone else to be kind then nobody will ever receive it and the world becomes a much grimmer place.

If you want to feel kindness, give it. We look at the incredibly popular television show “Ted Lasso.” The main character is beloved by viewers for the way he offers kindness even in the face of those who wish ill upon him. Winning does not matter to Ted in the way that kindness does. The success he finds in life comes as a bonus to the feeling of spreading and receiving kindness.

For those who prescribe to Christianity, the Bible connects with kindness in 1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” Kindness cannot come from a place of pride and selfishness but from a place of patience and genuine love.

We here at Integrated Therapies do our best to lead lives of kindness and provide counseling services to our clients and workplaces just the same. For a therapy model that considers a wide range of ways to be kind and find peace, contact our team and get started on a path to patience and kindness.