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Being Kind When It’s Seen as a Weakness

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” ~Samuel Johnson

When I worked in the corporate world, I didn’t focus on a race to the top. I enjoyed the day-to-day work of running a product line, finding opportunities for new markets, and helping managers in other countries launch similar lines tailored to their markets.

My approach was to be ethical in all aspects of the work, to have concern for the people I was working with to achieve results, and to share the credit appropriately. This was not the latest “management style,” nor was it proven.

The most senior managers saw the bottom line increase and gave me more responsibility and a promotion, while immediate supervisors discredited me since I was not like them.

A transfer to Asia fortunately took me out of the quagmire of home office politics. I felt the freedom to continue managing in a way that was natural to me: to encourage my teams with kindness, cooperation, and credit while we increased market share and the bottom line.

My staff felt safe and enjoyed their work. The division prospered.

However, my immediate superior didn’t value my approach. He viewed it as a sign of weakness that I was caring and thoughtful, and that I cooperated and shared with each colleague.

Even though I had added millions to the bottom line, I lost my job, my career.

When I’d started an MBA years before, I’d dreamed of changing the world in some significant way by helping others. There was no major in that, so I did an independent major: marketing for not-for-profits.

It was hard to find a job after graduation, since arts organizations in the mid 1970s didn’t see the need to hire an MBA. I realized that if I wanted to share knowledge and skills to change the world in some way, and do it while being kind, I had to go solo.

I went on a solo trek to the Himalayas to clear my mind and spent a month meditating at a small monastery near Kathmandu. I then journeyed to India for a healing purification retreat.

Months later at a Buddhist initiation, I heard the Boddhisattva vows. They were about putting others before self, being kind, keeping’s one’s word, and more. I breathed a sigh of relief. I felt like I’d come home.

I wanted to put those vows into practice in a practical way. At first I thought I would return to Hong Kong as an entrepreneur and send my earnings to Tibetans to start refugee schools. I learned, however, that it would be more beneficial to help refugees create opportunities for work. So I did.

I made the Himalayas my home, and volunteered to help Tibetan refugees develop small enterprises based on their skills and suited to their temperament and culture. This way they could become economically self-sufficient, eliminating the need for charitable donations.

My neighbors in the village where I lived were Punjabi widows—refugees themselves, without any income. Yet they could knit well. I helped them turn their lives around by teaching them designs, colors, and sizes that were in style. I also showed them how to sell these sweaters locally on their own.

It felt so natural to be kind and help others there. Kindness was a way of life for many.

A story that comes to mind involves a woman and a dog.

Dogs that are not used as shepherds in the Himalayas are feral. They look for scraps and fight a lot. People are terrified of the packs.

One day I heard a puppy whimpering. Village children, who had taken it as a temporary toy, helped me retrace their path to place the pup near a sibling. The mother dog came out of hiding to wash and feed the pup. Her bony body somehow produced milk for five puppies.

From that day I cooked brown rice and eggs for her, concerned that she herself would starve from feeding them. I would leave the food near the home she’d dug for her family under a log in a small wooded area.

One day that spring there was a long, slow snowstorm that prevented me from feeding her.

At daybreak the next day I placed some food near her shelter, but she didn’t come out. I waited and then slowly approached the hole. There was a snow-covered burlap sac covering the mouth of the shelter, but not one dog. Someone had been kind to protect the family from the storm, but the dogs were gone.

As I walked though the small woods looking for them, I noticed a house. A woman came to the door. Using hand signs and imitating the whimpering sounds of pups, I asked if she had seen the dogs.

She took me by the hand to a tiny abode. On the veranda of this one room structure was a woman cooking a small copper pot of rice on a stick fire. Around the fire were the mom and pups, lying comfortably and soaking in the warmth. The woman’s own children and husband were inside under a blanket on the single rope cot.

This frail bodied woman from Rajastan, in her thin cotton sari and shawl, shared her family’s only pot of rice with the dog family.

She and her husband were day laborers, carrying boulders on their heads as roads were being excavated through the mountains.

They earned less than a dollar a day for their combined work. In a bare room with a doorway as the only opening, they lived with clothes suited for the 120 degree heat of the desert, eating one meal a day.

This woman unflinchingly shared her food with this female dog and her puppies. She didn’t have much to give, but that didn’t stop her from giving what she could.

I had come to India to help others, with a vision to change the world in some small but significant way. Yet without intent, education, or desire, this woman changed my life in a very significant way. Her instinctive kindness that received no appreciation, let alone results or rewards, softened my heart.

 I see that being a kind human has value in any walk of life. This is what I took with me into future work. Even though I many not be the manager other people want me to be, I am valuable in any organization because I am kind.

I care about the people who work around me. I care about each individual client, customer, and colleague. This may not be a prerequisite for a successful career, but it’s my prerequisite for a successful life.

Each kindness changes the world. Being kind is what makes my world significant.

Whatever values you hold dear—whether it’s kindness, gentleness, calmness, or honesty—live it. Be it, even if the people around you don’t seem to value the same things; especially if the people around you don’t seem to value those things. That might be the very reason you came into their lives.

Photo by SweetOnVeg

About linnaea bohn

As a massage therapist & craniosacral therapist in Ventura County CA, linnaea shares love-all-around with clients, helping them to release at a deeper level, to access causes of discomfort & ill health, to return to their natural state of balance. Enjoy a sense of this peace at her website: www.affordable-massage.com

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  • wfl_24

    Well written piece of article. Enjoyed reading it thoroughly. 
    “Whatever values you hold dear—whether it’s kindness, gentleness, calmness, or honesty—live it. Be it, even if the people around you don’t seem to value the same things; especially if the people around you don’t seem to value those things. That might be the very reason you came into their lives.”
    This paragraph strike a chord, and I am inspired to be kind in a practical way, just like you. Thanks for sharing this article. 🙂

  • Sasalool

    Thank you for your post. When I read this post I felt hurt.  I’m a very kind person by nature, and I can’t tell you how many times I blamed myself for being so kind. Sometimes I feel people don’t deserve it. People don’t know how much energy and well power it takes to be kind. they think it’s a sign for weakness, when it is actually a sign of strength and self restrain.

    However, I have a question, how can you be kind without losing your self ? without being misunderstood for weak? without people taking advantage of you ? without being hurt ?
    How can I stand up for myself and be kind in the same time?

    I guess it’s not only one question, they are many….

  • Bre

    This is a lovely post. I had tears in my eyes reading about the woman and the dogs. So touching and powerful.

    This line really resonated with me: “This may not be a prerequisite for a successful career, but it’s my prerequisite for a successful life.”

  • linnaea, I have been fortunate to be part of various charitable projects throughout my life, and like you, found that changing the world quickly transformed into the world changing my life. It is humbling to think that I have so much to give, when the truth is that I have so much more to learn. Kindness and compassion all too often are placed low on our busy, bustling life’s list of priorities. Anyone who thinks kindness is a weakness should walk in the footsteps of poverty, sickness, hatred, blindness. In a difficult world being kind has amazing power.

  • This is beautiful, I loved reading your post! The whole ending really touched my heart but I mostly loved this line:  “This may not be a prerequisite for a successful career, but it’s my prerequisite for a successful life.” Fiona,x

  • Vshaw1118

    I loved this article! I try really hard to be kind to everyone, even I feel they don’t “deserve” it due to how I’ve seen them treat people. I also try to pass this to my 11y.o. son. It’s hard for him b/c so many people, not only kids, are unkind & uncaring to others. I only wish all parents, and adults of any kind, would try to be kinder & pass it along.

    It’s not always easy to “practice what you preach”, but it gets easier every time you do it.

    Yes, it’s sometimes thought of as weakness or being a “doormat”, but YOU will know the truth. Being like this takes more strength than the alternative!

  • Jenny

    I REALLY loved your article.  I’ve always been kind to others even when/if others haven’t been as kind.  Your words are passionate, inspiring, and timeless.  I especially loved these last lines…

    “Each kindness changes the world. Being kind is what makes my world significant.”

    “Whatever values you hold dear—whether it’s kindness, gentleness, calmness, or honesty—live it. Be it, even if the people around you don’t seem to value the same things; especially if the people around you don’t seem to value those things. That might be the very reason you came into their lives.”

    Thank you for sharing your story.  It made my day.  🙂

  • Kathleeniredale

    Beautiful post…thank you. I would also like to add that its so imortant to be kind and compassionate with ourselves.

  • Newmexicosuzanne

    Yes, yes and yes. Kindness is everything in the end…..Thank you for today’s post.

  • This story really touched my heart. I’m a pretty kind person by nature, always have been since I was a little girl. I was always made fun of because of my heart, or told I wasn’t strong enough. Funny that it’s quite the opposite. It takes a lot of strength to be kind and loving, and more importantly, be who you are despite what others have been led to believe is the “right way to be” Thank you for this, it really gave me the courage and strength to continue down the path I feel I am supposed to be on. 

  • This story really touched my heart. I’m a pretty kind person by nature, always have been since I was a little girl. I was always made fun of because of my heart, or told I wasn’t strong enough. Funny that it’s quite the opposite. It takes a lot of strength to be kind and loving, and more importantly, be who you are despite what others have been led to believe is the “right way to be” Thank you for this, it really gave me the courage and strength to continue down the path I feel I am supposed to be on. 

  • linnaeab

    Hi Jenny,

    How wonderful that you continue to be kind, even as others may not be as kind.

    Sometimes kindness can be contagious, but we may not be there to see how it affects another’s actions in the future.
    Sometimes we may see it in how someone else treats another person.
    Sometimes we can have a secret thought that an unkind person may experience kindness.
    That feels so good, too!

    If being kind makes your heart sing, that is what is important.

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Jenny,

    How wonderful that you continue to be kind, even as others may not be as kind.

    Sometimes kindness can be contagious, but we may not be there to see how it affects another’s actions in the future.
    Sometimes we may see it in how someone else treats another person.
    Sometimes we can have a secret thought that an unkind person may experience kindness.
    That feels so good, too!

    If being kind makes your heart sing, that is what is important.

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Kathleen,

    You are wise to add this.
    Being kind to oneself is nourishing.
    “Compassion begins at home.” (HHDL)
    It helps people to remain balanced and whole!
    thank you!

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Kathleen,

    You are wise to add this.
    Being kind to oneself is nourishing.
    “Compassion begins at home.” (HHDL)
    It helps people to remain balanced and whole!
    thank you!

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Bre,

    Thank you for sharing your feelings.

    It is amazing how such a simple act can touch our hearts, and speak to the compassionate person we all are.

    There are probably thousands of instances when unknowingly you also touched someone’s life deeply. Others who had the fortune to see it were equally touched.

    Thank you for all of these!

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Sasalool,

    Maybe this will help ease the hurt you feel right now:

    Bring one of your kind thoughts or actions to another person to mind. Observe it first from inside… going backwards. First see the act, then trace it back to the first thought.. if there was a first thought. Often there isn’t one.. kindness is so spontaneous.. and pure.

    Then observe the act as if you were a person down the road, seeing a stranger being kind to another. Feel what that person may have felt .. the surprise, the joy, the thought: “Wow! how special is that! .. I wish I could be like that”.

    Continue to do this with more acts in the past where you have been kind to others, focusing on  what happened inside of you as you were kind. Stopping replaying the “video” just as the act of kindness ended. Close your eyes at that point. Enjoy the feeling that arises right now.

    Is there a commonality? Is there a feeling common to all of these acts?

    How do you feel just as you are doing it, just at that moment when kindness is an act of pure love and simple act of being an empathetic human to another? Breathe that feeling into your heart.

    If this seems to be working, great!
    If it doesn’t help even the tiniest bit, then just ignore it!

    Let me know how it is going.

    Later more ideas may pop up!

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Cary,

    You are living a very rich life.
    Living and learning are two friends walking hand-in-hand down an endless road of adventure.
    It sounds as if kindness and compassion are your road.

    “In a difficult world being kind has amazing power.”
    This could be a new post (for Tiny Buddha) all in itself. I hope you will share more with us.
    I would love to learn from you!

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • Gerendog1

    Hi Linnaea, I feel like I just got a massage for my heart:)  I LOVE your story.  Your short story is a valuable reminder of what I have always strived for.  I have to admit, sometimes I have felt that certain kindnesses to others have not been good for myself or my family in some way, but in fact, have done no harm to anything but my feelings.  Sometimes that is just the cost of being as true to one’s beliefs as you can be.  I’m so glad you got this published to share with all of us who don’t give each day as much thought as we probably should.  Thank you for sharing this, I miss our conversations in Camarillo, you are missed!

  • linnaeab

    Hi Fiona,

    It makes me so happy that this story of a simple act touched your heart.

    I thank Lori Deschene’s kindness for culling the essence of a very long story. She was the one who suggested the phrase that you like … after reading how acts and thoughts of kindness to others in quite a few small and large organizations ended up by my losing my job. I realized that what was more important to me was being kind … since I couldn’t help it anyway ….  than having that one specific job.

    Somehow there was always another opportunity nearby (to work and to be kind).

    It reminds me of something my Buddhist teacher said: When the Karma ends, it ends.
    When two people no longer have karma together, they walk different ways. When a person and an organization no longer have the Karma to stay together, the job ends.

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Suzanne!

    Endless cheers for kindness!!!!

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi wfl,

    Yipee!
    Wonderful that sharing your values in a very practical way is what you take away from this
    simple act of being generous!
    You make my day!

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • Katherine

    Amazing post thank you. It’s nice to hear the same words I feel every day.

  • I loved this post, and while I know that kindness was the main focus, the part I appreciated the most is that you stayed true to yourself even though it caused you to lose your job.  That is the most inspiring thing for me to see – how important your vision of being kind without compromise was (and is!).  You created your own path to allow yourself to follow your heart and stay true to what you knew at your core.  I’m so impressed that there are people like you out there in the world!

    As someone who has had to fight to stay true to myself (on a much smaller scale), this was very important for me to read.  The kindness aspect was an added bonus. 🙂  Thank you so much for sharing your story here!

  • Rebekah Davada

    my heart flows with tears of compassion inspiration and joy to  connect with yours thank you kindly for  being a shining example!
    Rebekah

  • Hi linnea.

    I teared when I ready your post, especially about the generosity of heart that the Tibetan woman lived. Your quote “Her instinctive kindness that received no appreciation, let alone results or rewards, softened my heart.” Getting a glimpse of her purity truly warmed my heart. And I believe this is what kindness does in the world — touches a place of tenderness and compassion within each of us — even when we don’t know it.

    Interestingly, you knew early on that you could not disconnect from your honesty, integrity, and kindness while in the workplace, and you stayed true to you. It was your knowing and how refreshing.

    My heart’s intention is to help others connect their human wholeness and the workplace. I too was in the corporate world and was fortunate to be very productive and regarded while maintaining my wholeness. But after 5 years a crux arose, and I was not willing to sacrifice my values of kindness, fairness, and honesty and left the job. Although I loved my colleagues and position, the decision came from a deep knowing and was spot on.

    I thank you for sharing such tenderness and kindness in this post.
    Warmly.

  • This is a beautiful post – thank you – 
     Each time any one of chooses to be kind both the outer world we live in
    (and the inner world that is ours alone) is enriched, softened and simply made better….

  • Mydailyfacade

    Beautifully written. Thank you so much for brightening my heart!

  • linnaeab

    Hi Katherine,
     
    It’s nice to know you feel this way everyday.
    What a difference you make in the world around you!
     
    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Glasschick,

    Beautifully said. Thank you for sharing.
    Such a wonderful way to live: enriching, softening yours and others lives.
    Simply making all worlds a better place … just by simply being kind.
    BRAVO!
     
    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Gerendog1,

    It seems (from your post) that after you were kind to someone second thoughts arose that brought doubts of whether the act was good for you, for your family.

    Since the acts of kindness came about through your being true to your own beliefs, doing such acts must have made you feel good in the moment. First you were helping someone else, and second you were being yourself. Isn’t that a form of unconditional love for others and self … a balanced way of being?

    Maybe the immediate results were not expected, but that doesn’t change the pure love that started it all. As well, we don’t often see the effect that kindness has later in a person’s life, or the effect it has on others who see it, read about it, or hear about it.

    Funny, my impression of you is of an infinitely kind person … to your extended family; to dogs you rescued that did not have the purebred seal-of-approval of the breed rescue you volunteer for, but who received months of loving kindness that brought about incredible changes in their behavior and resulted in their being adopted by loving families! Your kindness in listening to people unconditionally.

    You are such a joy. Full of love .. and I miss you.

    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Rebekah,

    I look forward to hearing about how your heart expresses compassion in its own way with others, making your world and theirs filled with loving kindness!

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Alannah Rose,

    Staying true to yourself (as you do) brings peace and calm to a person’s life even though it does take strength at times to go against the prevailing wind (maybe that’s what you mean by having to fight?)

    Being true to your values really has no scale, small, medium or large. Thinking about being true to your values without yet acting on those thoughts has a great effect on one’s life. One feels centered, grounded, rooted. This brings a calm joy. And from there it is easier to actively express your values because it feels natural. It’s as if there is no choice, they just arise.

    Thank you for sharing a part of yourself with us.

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi my daily facade,

    Yipee!
    We get to feel your bright heart … it isn’t hiding today behind a “daily facade”!
    Please let that brightness shine for everyone to experience. That is such an act of kindness.

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Susie,

    “Getting a glimpse of her purity truly warmed my heart. And I believe this is what kindness does in the world — touches a place of tenderness and compassion within each of us — even when we don’t know it.”

    hmmmm. That is what kindness does … we feel it and have no words for it.

    What a special intention you live everyday. Thank you for your integrity. Thank you for sharing. It gives us pause to experience our own integrity, our own desires to live our values.

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    HI Vshaw,

    It sounds as if you have the strength to be kind, and are.

    It is harder to be kind to those who are mean to others. Yet because they haven’t experienced kindness in their families, perhaps they could benefit from kindness.

    Just as you are doing …. “wishing that all parents and adults of any kind, would try to be kinder and pass it along” …. being kind in your thoughts is a great way to be kind to those who are difficult.

    When faced with a bully, being kind may mean taking whatever seems to be the appropriate action while having thoughts such as “May he be well. May he find happiness. May he be liberated from harming others. May I find empathy for him sometime in the near future. May he feel kindness from someone. May he become sensitive to others’ loving thoughts.”

    HHDL suggests standing strong in times when it is needed, but from a compassionate, empathetic heart rather than one filled with anger. Being a doormat is not an option. As you suggest, the one with the compassionate heart knows the difference. I think the consciousness of the other person perceives the difference of a strong yet altruistic heart, but doesn’t recognize it for some time.

    Thank you for sharing.

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Dyamond,

    To continue to be kind as a child even though others made fun shows your courage. I hope as you continue to practice kindness that it becomes easier, almost second nature, and that others’ no longer resist. May others be kind to you, and you find your shared values nourishing.

    Thank you for sharing.

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • Sasalool

    Hi linnaeab

    I have to admit, when I remember that moment, I feel peaceful, I feel I’m myself again, not pretending. I feel happy that I actually made someone else smile, I feel that I’m easing my pain when I ease someone else’s pain, It’s like I’m patting on my own shoulder.

    Thank you dear for your advice

  • Pingback: Being Kind When It’s Seen as a Weakness | Truth Is Scary()

  • Marsha Schauer

    Thank you for this posting.  It really speaks to me. I consider myself a ‘kind’ person but am ashamed to admit that it’s not always true.  While I’m rescuing cats to find them good homes, I can be rude to people.  I could give you rationalizations, but no excuses.  This posting and quotation is going to be my mantra from now on.  And if I’m too tired to be ‘kind’, then I’ll stay home.  thank you.

  • Gerendog1

    Thank you so much, I value your inner wisdon and your ability to express your insights.  I’m so glad you came into my life and shared so much of who you are.  Thank you!!

  • This reminds me of a quote by the Dalai Lama, ‘”There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples, my philosophy is kindness.” Thank you for sharing such a great story!

  • Hi linnaea,

    Thanks for the response!  When I wrote about fighting to stay true to myself, I wasn’t very clear.  I was referring to a pattern in my life where I have been in situations where I could give in to pressure or do what I knew was right.  It has been a fight sometimes to be true to myself when it feels like the majority is working against me and pressuring me to do what they want.  You’re right though, for me it isn’t a choice, it’s just the way it is and I’m not able to act against it, but other people can be very resistant & make things difficult when I don’t do what they want me to.

    I think you knew what I was getting at and said it much more eloquently.  Thanks for taking the time to respond!

  • Geeblegirl

    Totaly loved or article & Totally believe it  to be true  ! An Add on .. People think  Kindness is  weakness but,  truely most  kind people  are braver  & stronger when they  keep on consistently  showing the world  what is more important  !!!

  • linnaeab

    Hi Geeblegirl!

    Spoken like a woman who knows first hand! Thank you for being a kind one!

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Big Zen,

    Yes! Isn’t HHDL a great example!! Not only a man (Buddha) who “walks his talk”, but a really joyful person. And practical.

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Marsha,

    How wonderful that you rescue cats! Saving any life is the ultimate act of kindness.

    I like your practical approach: if I am too tired to be kind, then I will stay home! AND while you are at home, be kind to YOURSELF. Nurture yourself and absorb all that love that your own cats give you.

    Rescuing animals can be overwhelmng…. especially in the spring and summer when so many are born, and more are turned into shelters or abandoned.

    As a lover of cats, it must be hard for you to hear the reasons why a human doesn’t have the loving commitment to another living creature, and to see the condition of abandoned cats. Most of the rescuers I work with (as a scout for 9 different large & giant breed dogs, and a poop cleaner at a feral cat sanctuary) have given up on people.

    An alternative way to look at the situation could be that the companion animal has already given as much unconditional love as this current family has needed from him, and it is now his turn to share it with another family. Your kindness helps the animal to locate the next receiver of love. When the Karma between two living beings is ended, it has ended. Simple! Time to move on to the next opportunity for this animal to teach humans about unconditional love. And on the way he gets to be with you!!!!!

    Thank you for all that you do, Marsha.

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Alannah,

    Thank you for clarifying. Resistance to what you know is harmful to someone is valuable. In other situations it may be wiser to bend like the bamboo. Only you know what is possible for all of the people involved in the moment.

    Sometimes I wonder if trying to find common ground would take people out of “us/me versus you.” It takes  time, honest conversation, and willingness on everyone’s part. It is not the easy road. From what I hear, there are not many examples of it on TV or in movies. Yet if we can walk in their shoes for a few moments and share with them what it is like being in our shoes, we can usually find something in common. Over time that can dissolve barriers of false impressions and judgments that prevent people from working well together.

    Life can be a very fun experiment!

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Sasalool,

    Oh, that feels so good. Thank you for letting me know.
    may you be happy!

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • Dear Linnaea,
    As I do ethical marketing and design as a volunteer for community projects and to help people who are unemployed to get back in to paid employment thank you for posting this article as it really stuck a chord with me.

    It reminds me of one of my favourite quotes (at http://viewonbuddhism.org/​index.html) by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso: “Don’t try to use what you learn from Buddhism to be a Buddhist, use it to be a better whatever you already are.”

    As we are all part of humankind we all have the ability to be kind to our fellow humans.
    Namaskar.

  • Simple Girl

    Linnaea,

    I read your story this morning and it had an immediate impact on me.  Thank you so much for sharing it.  I admire you for “being kindness” and for putting it at the centre of everything that you have done.  Your story has given me tremendous inspiration to continue to cultivate compassion and kindness.  This story came at a time when I have been considering how to incorporate similar values that you discuss with my corporate position whereby I have faced similar feedback about my style of operating.  I will continue to operate from a place of kindness and hold it at the centre of all my actions and see what happens from there.

    Again thank you so much.   You have helped me so much through your words and your example.

    Best wishes to you.

  • linnaeab

    Hi Simple Girl,

    Bravo! Applause for your courage.

    I love the way you express what you are doing: cultivating compassion and kindness. A plant starts from a seed, using the right amount of water, sun, air to grow. Cultivating is supporting that natural process.

    You may find one or two like minded people in your organization that share a vision of a humane workplace,.Having a small group that is kind to each other, while they are being kind to others that don’t share their vision will make it easier.

    I found that supervisors were afraid that by being nice they would lose control. The only example they had was being afraid. Fear is the primary motivator in the USA … as we can see from advertisements, TV shows, and movies. It seems that Power is gained through fear.

    However, it is the opposite. Most people in an organization don’t need to be controlled. Perhaps none of them need control. So fear is not the appropriate tool.

    We (humans) are motivated by those who are fair, who are just, who care about people. We give power by letting those people influence us. We are inspired, We seek their advice because we trust them. It is more effective to move an organization forward with people who want to co-operate: co=together operate=work .. thus work together.

    May you enjoy “continuing from a place of kindness” and see what happens.
    Gradual and flexible!

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Nick,

    It sounds as if you are living a wonderful life being of service to so many, using your skills to help others. Thank you for sharing. You inspire us all.

    HHDL is so clear in his simple approach to life:

    Kindness is my religion.
    Use Buddhism to be a better whatever you are.
    When I meet a stranger, I remember that he is a person just like me who wants to be happy.
    If the world leaders would just sit down together as human beings, and get to know each other, there wouldn’t be so much conflict.
    Find what is common between spiritual paths. There is more in common than there are differences.

    HHDL would chuckle with joy if he heard how you are using your life!  Oops! Maybe you have already met him, and felt this joy!

    all the best,
    linnaea

  • Rebecacristina

    Totally agree with you I worked in retail services for several years and it’s a cut throat world. Basically, you’re rewarded for throwing colleagues under the bus. I loved my job but the atmosphere was hostile. Finally, I have my own business couldn’t be happier.

  • Box of Kindness

    Wonderful article. Being kind when it is seen as a weakness is a struggle for many people, especially in the professional world. This was a great read. 

  • marie27

    what an inspiring article linnaeab!!“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” this statement strikes a chord in my heart. growing up i was able to see the kindness in my mother’s heart. she’s naturally kind and helpful to everyone. more often than not, i would see people taking advantage of her kindness. they would only go to her when they need her, and banish into thin air after. sometimes not even saying a simple thank you. when we hit rock bottom, nobody was there. not a single shadow of those people, whom my mother was helping back then, come to comfort or show concern to us.  i felt bad for her and upbraided her for being too kind, yet those people can’t do anything in return. she said when you want to genuinely help someone you don’t expect anything in return. i was too immature to understand. bitterness clouded my heart and mind. from that moment i’ve told myself that i will only help those people  who can return a good deed to me. but reading your article enlighten me to see the positive side of kindness. i want to instill in my mind now that  a simple gesture of kindness maybe a life-saver to the other party like the dog example. i may not be a kind person but i’m trying to be one! thank you!!

  • Sandrabaynton

    This is a very good post, full of endearing and remarkable qualities.  It is also very strange, but this is something I said to another person a while ago, telling them that love and kindness are not a weakness but a strength.  Unfortunately these are not always traits that are recognised by others as such, perhaps they are afraid of such strength in other human beings and  feel threatened by them.

  • linnaeab

    Hi Sandrabaynton,

    Thank you for sharing your insight.

    Some may have an unconscious fear or feel threatened by another person being kind.
    Others may find kindness so unfamiliar that it is dismissed.
    There is far less in the media that celebrates people doing good for others, than adrenaline pumping stories about unwanted events perpetrated onto others.

    I hope that as we who value kindness can practice it more, it will become familiar.  The brains of people who receive the kindness will experience the calming pleasure of oxytoxin, and may eventually crave that hormone over adrenaline. We all would be a lot healthier if that were the case, since constant-on adrenaline is part of the stress syndrome, and reduces the immune system.

    Have fun being kind!

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Rebecacristina,

    Isn’t amazing how reward systems in profit-oriented businesses encourage short term greed, and thus nasty behavior among colleagues.

    It sounds like you made a shift that makes your life wonderful! Congratulations on                taking the risk.

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Box of Kindness,

    What a great name!
    Thanks for sharing

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Marie27,

    Your mom is such a generous person and wise. Thank you for sharing her story. It is a great example for all of us.

    It seems as if your love for your mom was the reason that you were upset with others for not helping her when she needed it.
    That love is the basis of kindness.

    How wonderful that you want to be more kind.
    This might make it easier to develop more kindness:

    Be kind in any way that is easy for you: sharing a smile, heart-felt listening to friends and family, to anyone you really care about, whatever makes you happy.

    When this is comfortable and familiar (it may be weeks, months or more), then start being kind to acquaintances. Then extend it to strangers.

    When this becomes comfortable the kind person already enjoys the feeling of being kind. Each kind act expands the heart, and it fills with a sense of love that is not specifically directed at any one person. It is love without object … pure love.

    If it feels comfortable, then the kindness can be extended to someone we don’t particularly like, or don’t enjoy being in their company.

    Eventually we may be able to be kind to a person who has done some wrong to us. Perhaps first in thought only, a long time after the event happened. But eventually it may be possible to be kind in actuality when the situation arises. Kindness is natural by then.

    Every thought of kindness is of great value, and a great beginning to a fuller life.

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • An attack on others is an admittance of vulnerability. It says I fear for myself and therefore must defend myself against you. Lots of projection there. Attack is a sign of an inherent belief in our own weakness.

    Kindness is a sign of strength.

  • linnaeab

    HI Brandon,

    Interesting observation.
    It fits many of the situations I have experienced working in organizations.

    Do you have any insight as to how to help the other person (who is often in a position above) to feel less vulnerable (or insecure)?

    I have tried sharing ideas and asking for feedback to get the person involved in the process. We had gentle conversations one-to-one, rather than confrontation in front of others (which was the  way other staff worked). He learned new approaches to problem solving that he participated in. Things were easier, but not really different.

    Being a heartfelt active listener, empathizing, offering a good natured example to another superior also made the daily interface more comfortable. But in the end, the superior still threatened people.

    Please share more insights
    thank you

    enjoy,
    linnaea

  • As much as we might like to change someone else’s mind, it’s more a matter of our perception of the situation–what we can choose. That’s not to say you should avoid speaking up when it’s necessary.

    I practice A Course in Miracles and it says you can see every act as an expression of love or a call for love. When someone acts threatening or intimidating, if we can see this as a call for love, it will dramatically change our interpretation of the situation and thereby our reaction to it. We can let down our guard, if by just a little, and be the solid example of kindness and the correct words or actions will flow.

    No, we don’t have to bend over for the other person or be their pushover. But we don’t have to take a position of self-defense either. Given the dynamics of situations, a more loving, kind perception of the situation may call for confrontation or speaking up. When you teach your invulnerability (by example), you teach them of their invulnerability, or at least the possibility of its recognition. Whether or not they receive the message is not your decision. So as you implied in your article, be that kindness.

  • linnaeab

    Hi Brandon,Thank you for these insights from your practice.They are well expressed, make sense. enjoy,linnaea

  • linnaeab

    Hi Brandon,Thank you for these insights from your practice.They are well expressed, make sense. enjoy,linnaea

  • Ayomi

    I loved reading this post. I have read it a few times now.
     
    I am struggling working with my boss. I find it quite frustrating sometime and do get angry with him and its hard to be kind and understanding towards him as I find him quite lazy. But reading this post I see the value in being kind and compassionate.  This is something I need to learn and practice especially with people who you find hard to get along with.
     
    Thank you.

  • Inspireyogasc

    wow, I cried and was inspired (It touched my heart) thank you, thank you, thank you

  • Pingback: Being Kind When It’s Seen as a Weakness | Life @ Work | Scoop.it()

  • Niki

    I have really enjoyed this story.

    It is so sad to see how people don’t value kindness and look down upon those who are kind. I have always been kind, as a child and now grown up, and many times people have told me that I am too nice. So at some point I started thinking that maybe something is wrong, how can i be so kind even to those who can be mean to me? Why are most people so different? I guess there could be a lot of answers to that but in the end I realized that there is nothing wrong, that that’s the way I want to live my life and if someone does not like it, well it is their problem not mine.

    A smile can go a long way and I’d rather smile every day and maybe the world can be a better place.

  • bugzzz

    This is awesome. I recognize it as truth. Sometimes it seems hard to be kind without reciprocation or acknowledgement. But then you do it and rediscover the intrinsic reward.

  • LGG

    What an inspirational story! I have had the similar experiences in schools where I was a supervisor. Unfortunately sometimes ego or fear even trumps $$$. In my case it was not only the dollars it was the children.

  • dionsimon

    How much kindness and sacrifice is required it eats away at your soul but this is the end of the journey for me no more nice guy. It took me 10 yrs to learn this I’m 19 no more time is being wasted.

  • Timbo

    I to was promoted within a company because of the way I listened and worked out solutions. I was approachable and friendly which was bringing out the best in people I believed. Until my boss was replaced with a new one. The new boss took me to one side and told me he believed I was to weak for my position and I was removed and sent on a downward spiral until I left.
    It has still not changed my opinion though as I feel sorry for someone like him who can only motivate through fear. A very sad position for him to be in.