Where Does Unkindness Come From?

What they think motivates someone to be unkind.  Is it anger?  Is it fear?  Is it insecurity? Scarcity?

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7 thoughts on “Where Does Unkindness Come From?

  1. I agree that kindness is becoming a lost character trait. It’s probably due to the fact that we, as a people, have moved away from an “it takes a village’ mentality to one of “me, me, me”. For many people in our society, their feelings take precedence over someone else’s. There is very little room for kindness with that type of mentality.

    Kindness, like compassion and tolerance, are, to some degree, learned and experienced traits, re-enforced by one’s social environment. If you are primarily in an environment where intolerance and being unkind to someone is the norm, you are more likely to enact those traits to everyone you come across in your life. Anger, fear and a lack of knowledge are additional contributing factors to people showing a lack of kindness. As humans, one of our fight or flight reactions to something that scares us, or that we don’t understand or like, is to react in anger. As we tend not to think clearly when we are angry, we tend to be unkind. Of course the reverse is absolutely true about people who grow up experiencing kindness, either from others or their social environment.

    Children learn kindness and compassion by witnessing how their parents deal with them and others. They also learn through their interactions with each other how to be kind and cruel. At some point though a choice is made, either consciously or sub-consciously, on whether to be kind or cruel. Perhaps the answer to kindness becoming cool again rests with children. If they are guided towards the decision to become kind, are taught through-out their formative years that kindness is cool, that being kind makes you feel good and is something positive that you can do every day, then there would probably be more kind people in the world.

    • Thank you Lori, for your comment. I am so happy to have you join our little chat about kindness. What I particularly liked about your comment was the mention of the human “fight or flight” response and how we get scared or we don’t understand or like something, we get angry. I grew up with a father that reacted to almost anything he didn’t like with anger. Actually, he also reacted to anything he couldn’t control with anger too. Sadly, I picked that up and its been a life long practice to unlearn that reaction. I would venture a guess that many of us don’t realize how often we are being unkind because we are scared or confused. It’s easy to give examples and opinions of how others are unkind or otherwise miss the kindness mark. Humility seems, in my own personal experience, to be a key ingredient for the ability to be kind. Maybe it would be good to hear people share times when they were not kind and how it made them feel?

    • wow….one out of three did not get deleted so far on today’s post! the stalekr again? there is just one stalekr right? was it lower case j?I hope I make the cut yes, everything should be safe and kind although I do think sometimes kindness is not always possible…how can you kindly tell someone they are way out of line or just plain wrong? I do subscribe to the theory that there is indeed right from wrong all the stuff that is hard to hear…it’s what teaches the most teaches us what we agree with and disagree with and it’s most interesting to read about too I don’t want you to become a “shock blogger” but every once in a while you need to be, or hear from a wise “hit women” that simply tells it like it is nothing personal just the facts! I don’t agree with you because you’re a bitch is not allowed disagree-er must state facts and opinions as they see themnot mentioning any names now, but, I do feel some of you writers/teachers/healers always think everyone is projecting or transferring or suppressing …when someone disagrees with what has been written some of you seem to go into autopilot on the psycho babble blah blah blahgreat writers who blog and the fans who blog along with them are not necessarily always great thinkers and that is why the free exchange of ideas without censor is so importantI trust you…but don’t be overly sensitive! if you do a blog and want people to comment you can’t expect everything to always come out “nice”if I passionately object to something you wrote, if I really think you’re full of it…then I might not deliver my comments all wrapped in kindness and you can’t expect me to…one time I posted on your blog that I thought you were wrong and selfish and you assumed I had a bone to pick with you wrong I totally and completely knew you were way out of line and in the end you altered your behavior because of my post and the subsequent posts that followedlately you have been a little delete happy and I don’t like it but thank you for the explanation about why you delete and control I do see your pointlike right now, you’re probably thinking “hey! shut up and wait a minute it’s my blog and I’ll make the rules so go screw yourself” but no, Carrie Dear…your blog is fluid, it’s living you gave birth to it but now it belongs to all of usI’ll stay tuned…no small talk! keep it real baby!

      • Hi Lori,

        First and foremost, I am SO sorry that I didn’t respond to this comment earlier. It ended up in my spam folder and I just caught it. I don’t delete comments unless the advertisers. THANK YOU for your point of view. I am no expert in anything. At times I will bring in information from so called “experts” but I am real, raw and honest and that’s what I want from my readers. So please, keep coming back and sharing your thoughts.

        Have a great day!

        CK

  2. When did it become uncool to be kind? How did this happen? Truly it is not fashionable to be kind anymore, so I’m delighted that commonkindness is spearheading an initiative to reinstate kindness to cool. Although most people are naturally kind, if it’s not so natural, it CAN be learned. It can be a choice. One tool in learning to be kinder is restraint. I can site a perfect example. I am not originally from NYC, in fact, I was brought up in a small town where everyone genuinely liked each other, were courteous and kind. I am always surprised when I witness defensive responses instead of receptive responses. I was returning to my car the other day in a very big, busy mall parking lot. I noticed an older lady also going to her great big, brand new SUV which was parked next to my little junker. She had pulled in at an angle and was perilously close to my car, so I said, “Hi, it looks like you are very close to my car so be careful pulling out.” I didn’t want her to ding her brand new SUV. Her knee-jerk reaction wasn’t, “Oh, sorry, thank you; I’ll be careful.” Instead she very harshly and empathically said, “Well, I was probably here first” (she wasn’t, but….) We’re almost afraid of someone being nice or putting forth a kind gesture. I waited for her to maneuver past me and just went on my way. There was no point in continuing a dialog with this lady; so I used restraint. My tendency is try to engage people in a positive manner, but I also know sometimes that is beyond reach. But it bothers me that so many people live their days with such anger. How can we curb this?

    • To channel my teenager daughter, “I know, right?!” You bring up some really good points. Wow, where to start? It’s funny. The drive to be cool never really does away, does it? Be it conscious or subconscious, it is in the back of our minds. I think we should launch a new campaign “It’s Cool to be Kind”. What do you think?

      Evelyn, the example you shared about the lady and her car really highlights an experience I. for one, have all the time. People make assumptions, take things personally, get defensive then reactive and before long someone is hurt or angry. We are human therefore we feel emotion so as far as I know, its impossible to separate us from the potential for being unkind.

      However, as you also pointed out, kindness can be learned. In fact, I would venture to suggest that we don’t so much need to learn to be kind as much as we need to remember to be kind. As children, being kind was an intuitive way of being, wasn’t it? Somewhere along the line, it must lose its place in our environment and we forget to practice it.

      I think the best action to take is to keep practicing. Honestly, for me, my go to phrase for myself and my daughter is, “Just be nice.”

      • Thanks Anne-Marie. Holding the door is such a simple geurste as is thanking someone for doing it. The key is to hold the door because its a kind thing to do not because you expect to be thanked. When you can hold the door and the person doesn’t thank you and you still have a spirit of kindness in that moment that’s the real magic of being kind.

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