World Kindness Day made me think about the origin of kindness
On November the 13th it was International Kindness Day. Every day we have something to celebrate, or think of, and even a topic for our posts. I find some of these International Days are a bit funny; for example, the UN calendar shows a “world toilet day” on November the 19th (you are free to check if you do not believe me). Despite the funniest celebrations, I often find myself thinking about the proposed topic. So, on International Kindness Day, I found myself thinking about the idea of kindness, and what has to be considered a kind person.
As I usually do, I checked the etymology of this word, and I found out that kind is translated into Italian as gentle, which means “belonging to a common ancestry”.
I found this idea particularly interesting as if kind people were belonging to a different race, hopefully not near extinction. But what makes them “kind”?
To me, a kind person has a particular behavior: they are never shouting, they always address people with a nice approach, and they never express a trenchant opinion. Kind is also someone who rewards you with an unexpected compliment, without being intrusive. Most importantly, a kind person is really interested in knowing about you. When they ask you “how are you?” it seems they just want to be sure you are fine.
This consideration reminds me of a tale, in which a man going to work was spending a couple of minutes with his concierge. “How are you?” he asked the concierge who answered explaining he was facing some problems. The man replied, “I asked you how are you because I had to, but I have no time to listen to how you actually are”.
So, as etymology identifies gentle people are belonging to their specific race, it means that their behavior is not common. It should mean that the rest of the world is inhabited by unkind people. This idea is quite overwhelming, and I guess we all try to belong to the gentle type.
This means: I try to be kind to everyone, as Roy Bennet said: “treat everyone with politeness and kindness, not because they are nice, but because you are”. So, maybe kindness has a lot in common with gratitude: grateful people are often kind as if they had to reward the rest of the world for the lovely life they are living. Besides, gratitude makes people happier, as per several studies carried on by neurologic researchers. Gratitude increases self-esteem, inner sense of peace, and happiness.
These are all the characteristics a kind person shows: when you self estimate, you do not need someone else’s approval for your behavior and you feel free to genuinely approach people. If you are feeling at peace with the world, you do not feel as if you were at war keeping your guard up; so again you can approach others and any new situation with curiosity and an open mind. And when you are happy, you know happiness is much more real if you share it.
So, maybe kind people do not belong to any special ancestry, but they share positive traits that make them uncommon. Hopefully, celebrations such as World Kindness Day will help to spread this characteristic making it much more common, to make us all belong to the “gentle race”.