Discover the pleasures of kindness. Being polite and kind is good for the body and head. It improves mood, strengthens human relationships, and extends life as a couple. So why do we waste kindness with so much angry or rude behavior?
Never as in this moment do we all, absolutely everyone, need to rediscover and cultivate what Marcus Aurelius, philosopher and Roman emperor, called “the joy of humanity”: kindness . Yes, because if it is true that his many opposites, from rudeness to insolence, from arrogance to various forms and degrees of violence, poison life, it is certain that kindness rounds it up, improves it, and makes it sweeter. for everyone. Thus avoiding a great waste of human relationships rather than community, social ones.
IMPORTANCE OF KINDNESS
We need kindness , like an antibiotic, to cure the disease at risk of contagion of a grudge that is spreading in our daily life. Between neighbors , as between people who share a road with different means of transport; among citizens who can and must have different opinions but are not forced to daily insult and hate each other; between those who made it and those who trudge. Between single men and single women who have lost not only the etiquette , but the ethos of kindness. That light but very powerful force that makes the difference in our relationships, including the most intimate ones, in the family, among friends, with the people we say we love.
READ ALSO: “Kindness is the strong chain that binds men” (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)
WHAT IS KINDNESS
The strongest and truest thing about kindness was said by Goethe , many years ago, with a phrase that we should all engrave in our heads : It is a chain that holds men together . Kindness seems only a gesture of etiquette , of good education, of people of the world: but this is an understatement. Kindness is an essential ingredient to keep people together, at any level, so as not to waste the wealth of human relationships we possess, to live better with ourselves and with others.
Have you ever really thought about the power of kindness ? About how many things can change, for the better, in our lives and in that of those around us. It takes very little to fully reap a series of benefits, ranging from the quality of relationships to physical well-being . Benefits that we often waste only for wrong lifestyles, where kindness disappears.
An example? Strong and rough manners complicate life as a couple in the long run and make it unsustainable. On the contrary, as the research of American psychologists John Gottman and Robert Levenson also shows, small daily gestures, inspired by good manners, strengthen bonds , make tensions fade, make those who receive them happy . In a word: they convey love .
ADVANTAGES OF KINDNESS
It is a key word that is making a comeback: kindness . Movies, new books and even courses for all ages. Meekness is turning into a winning weapon to seduce and convince others, where we have been accustomed to the increasingly frequent use of force, abusive violence and profanity.
The Praise of Kindness by Adam Philips and Barbara Taylor (Ponte delle Grazie editions) has been reprinted and The Pleasure of Kindness has been very successful . Small treatise on good education in the ice age by Bertrand Buffon (Ediciclo editions), which offers some very practical and useful information.
Meanwhile, even courses to teach kindness and its advantages are multiplying . The Italian association Gentletude organizes courses run by volunteers that explain why kindness, especially in times of Great Crisis, is convenient, helps to make a career, is a deterrent to dismantle aggression and arouses authenticity and empathy.
BENEFITS OF KINDNESS
And again: kindness improves mood , empathy, human relationships, and even health . When you drink coffee at a coffee shop or when you leave a shop for an errand, remember to always say the magic word: Thank you. And to answer Please, if someone thanks you in turn. My mother told me that as a girl in her school one of the subjects on which the teachers’ attention was concentrated was called Good manners . That is the ability to be kind: at home, with friends, at work . A capacity that we have lost, lost .
Think how many times in the course of a day, perhaps more tense than usual, you are not kind, to have a rude attitude. From the family to the condominium , from the road to the means of transport, a true anthropological drift has taken place in the daily life of Italians, of which the eclipse of kindness is perhaps the most evident and easiest to measure indicator. We have become a people of peasants. Ask yourself, for example, how much time passes from the moment the green light goes off at a traffic light and the honking of someone behind you: fractions of a second. Get on a high-speed train, crowded with decent people according to the status of the wallet and the cost of the ticket, close your eyes, and listen to the noise in the background:the scream of conversations with mobile phones , and who cares about the conductor who, shouting too, asks to turn down the ringer of the mobile phones.
THANKS, PLEASE, I CAN: SYNONYMS OF KINDNESS
In a few years in our homes, according to a research by the Gentietude association that promotes a lifestyle based on good manners, in almost half of the Italian families the words Grazie, Please, Can I? Canceled. To put them back on the pitch we had to think of Pope Francis who with his direct language invoked, not only for Christians, the use of three words to give longevity to married life. Thanks, Permission and Sorry. Three words that we are no longer used to pronouncing, when we ask for information in the street, when we push someone in a hurry to reach a place (but where do we run every moment of our existence?), When we interrupt those who are trying to talk to us, to communicate beyond the wall of autism of our self-referential and self-centered thoughts.
The anthropological drift that has extinguished kindness was certainly accelerated by some phenomena, all concentrated in time and effects. There is the weight of an economic crisis now in its fifth year abundant, with all the unknowns about the future and with a people that has accumulated, like those self-sustaining batteries, anger mixed with indignation, social envy mixed with resentment. And therefore the end of kindness , also as a feeling that binds a community, that holds it together where the conflict of interests and roles is natural by definition.
IMPORTANCE OF GOOD WAYS
Then we are paying the bill for a progressive loss of meaning, understood as sense of words and civic sense. Bad language is on the agenda , in the agora of the public debate of the national ruling class, or television talk shows. They insult each other, without a shred of modesty, without ever uttering a word of self-criticism (for example: excuse me), ministers, heads of famous and influential companies and improvised leaders in the role of party leaders, fashionable intellectuals, icons of entertainment and the gossip They talk like in the bar when someone has raised his elbow, or like the taxi driver unleashed against everyone and everyone: yet they, the tour company in charge seen through the remote control, are the front line of the country’s ruling class.
READ ALSO: How to teach kindness to children through good example and play
WORDS ON THE WEB
With television, and more than television , the web takes care of sowing the new language of the daily insult. Facebook is also used for this: to vent, perhaps in anonymity , the instinct of anger against and not for someone, even those who until yesterday were your idol. As for the loss of civic sense, which Italians have always cultivated in low doses, we have taken a leap back, into the void, since 1958 when Aldo Moro decided to introduce civic education as a compulsory subject in middle and high schools, anchored not to case to the teaching of History.
Through reforms, counter-reforms and experiments, such as the abstract idea of introducing courses entitled Citizenship and Constitution, in the end a result was obtained: in fact, in schools no one teaches children civic education, that is the kindness of coexistence , the importance of courtesy , for the quality of human and social relations. With your neighbor today, with your workmate or with your condominium tomorrow.
BEING KIND IS CONVENIENT
Fortunately, as often happens in crises, especially when they are really big, change passes through the narrow path of utility. And so slowly, under the radar, we are discovering that being kind is worthwhile (by the way it costs nothing) and not being kind is a waste in terms of quality of life, including feelings and health. Piero Ferrucci, philosopher and psychologist, in a famous book entitled The strength of kindness (Mondadori editions), writes: “Kindness is not a luxury, but a necessity”.A concept that today circulates a lot through the Internet channel, where the sharing of behaviors inspired by courtesy is multiplying, associations such as the “Italian Movement for Kindness” (www.gentilezza.it), and even courses on the web of good manners, those that in the royal school have been canceled. Time to time and you will see that kindness will come back into fashion, all the rage.