Kindness without expectation, kindness is a gift, an act of service or putting the wants and needs of another before your own. Kindness meaning is considered a virtue and is recognized as of value in many cultures and religions.
Being kind is to put someone else first. However, if we are really honest with ourselves, how often are we kind without expectation? We do and say things for other people but mostly want or hope for a result for ourselves. The line between what we want for them and from them can be very blurred.
For example, if you do something for someone with an expectation of a return, is it still a kind act? If you sell an item to them in exchange for cash, is that kindness? Or is the favourable manner in which you treat them the only real act of kindness within the performance of the exchange?
You’ve may have heard the phrase “to be cruel to be kind”, referring to something like awakening someone to another truth. So, kindness is not necessarily or always just to make someone feel good.
The opposite of kindness is to be nasty, taking some sense of satisfaction from being unkind to someone.
Kindness can be a state of mind, a kind person. Someone who is generally of a pleasant disposition, happy to give to everyone. But are they kind because this a learnt behaviour from childhood, a behaviour that got them the best results and is now entrenched?
I don’t think we should discount any act of kindness regardless of the motivation, but we should look within and search for our own motives.
I went through this self-investigation when my romantic advances were rejected recently, I decided to look within and ask myself why was I interested in this person? Did I want her favourable attention in return? The answer of course was yes. Was I being unconditional? No! So, all this was then brought up in a conversation with another friend, the question that arose was “what is unconditional love”? To expect nothing in return we assume.
I hear the term frequently but doubt the honesty of the statement every time.
An unconditional love or friendship would be bordering on if not defiantly divine, and very few of us are capable of keeping that up throughout a lifetime.
Mostly being kind to someone is a gift or act or behaviour that has your best intention behind it with a hope of a benefit for you as well.
Being kind is generous, giving, friendly and considerate, it can be a word, an act or a gift. Something with a conscious of even unconscious intention behind it.
As a receiver of kindness, what should you judge? The kindness or the intention?
Some of what I’ve said may be obvious but many people including myself often fail to look deeper into kindness received and ask what the intention was? Because we don’t look at the intention, we miss the opportunity to repay or give back for the gesture.
Applying this rigour of thought to your friends and family may produce different opinions in your mind, different from those you formed originally.
Generally applying a generous disposition to all those around you will help fill gaps you miss and it will enhance the frequency of kindness you receive. Simply through the fact that kindness produces kindness.
For example, expressing gratitude more often for acts of kindness received is in itself an act of kindness. Acts of kindness of all types should be acknowledged if you are aware of them.
Kindness without expectation is a very rare thing, an unconditional nature takes a lot of work, mindfulness and control over yourself and your emotions.
Charles Darwin, who studied human evolution, didn’t see mankind as being biologically competitive and self-interested. Darwin believed that we are a profoundly social and caring species.
Being socially kind is a way for us to be accepted into a group, therefore it is our default position. We are naturally kind as we are programmed at a primal level to be in a tribe, we need to belong.
But at a conscious level we get to choose if we are kind or not. This is where we display our unique quality as a human.
We are also programmed to see the bad before we see the good so that we can see danger and avoid it. This has helped us survive over the ages. But it also means we can miss acts of kindness or worse see them with scepticism.
So, our conscious state is in a constant battle between our primal need to stay safe and be accepted.
Life is fairly safe these days the odds are with us even though we see bad news first.
So, acting with kindness is usually done consciously and with purpose, it shows we care and we want to belong. Kindness without expectation is much harder but we should aim for it, examine our own motives and lower our own expectations with the understanding that not all kindness is noticed or acknowledged.
Kindness meaning a person who can do this is an aware person, “woke”, heading towards enlightenment, one who is in control of themselves and will benefit from the karma anyway.