Know How To Be Kind Without Dimming Your Light

Know How To Be Kind Without Dimming Your Light

Kindness does not require us to shrink ourselves to accommodate the insecurities of others

Somi DasUpdated: Saturday, December 23, 2023, 10:35 PM IST
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Pic: Freepik

Kindness is not a threadbare concept confined to mere niceties; it’s a robust fabric woven with threads of empathy, compassion, and genuine understanding. Contrary to misconceptions, being kind isn’t synonymous with playing small or underestimating one’s worth. Instead, it’s a beacon that guides us towards setting realistic expectations, not just for others but also for ourselves.

Kindness does not require us to shrink ourselves or dim our brilliance to accommodate the insecurities of others. Rather, it beckons us to shine brightly, inspiring others to embrace their own potential.

It challenges the notion that success and self-confidence must be tempered to maintain harmony. The fear of overshadowing others is a common notion. Eleanor Roosevelt, a trailblazing First Lady, articulated this sentiment when she declared, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Acknowledging one’s brilliance and accomplishments does not equate to arrogance or self-centredness. In the words of novelist Ursula K. Le Guin, “The creative adult is the child who survived.” There is a lot to be proud of our creative side that propels our achievement and ambition.

Renowned author and motivational speaker, Wayne Dyer, encapsulates the essence of kindness and self-worth with his insightful words: “Self-worth comes from one thing – thinking that you are worthy.” Kindness, at its core, involves recognising our intrinsic value and extending the same acknowledgment to others. It is a manifestation of the understanding that we all possess unique strengths and limitations.

Ayn Rand’s words ring true: “The man who does not value himself cannot value anything or anyone.” Kindness, when directed inward, becomes a reservoir of self-confidence. It involves understanding that acknowledging one’s worth is not an act of arrogance but a necessary foundation for meaningful connections.

Embracing your full presence, expressing your thoughts boldly, and consistently exceeding expectations should be sources of pride, not self-criticism. In a world that often settles for the bare minimum, daring to shoulder more responsibilities and pushing creative boundaries each day is a rare and courageous quality. However, amidst this pursuit, it is crucial to refrain from harshly judging others.

The quest for perfection, while seemingly noble, not only contradicts the principles of kindness but also hinders productivity and stifles creativity. Striking a balance between ambition and understanding is key to fostering a healthy environment, both for oneself and for those around you.

Setting realistic expectations for others becomes paramount in cultivating a kind and supportive atmosphere within your personal and professional circles. Everyone has their unique journey, and how they choose to navigate it is a deeply personal decision. While accountability is essential in familial, friendly, or professional relationships, it should be approached without harboring personal grudges.

The interconnectedness we share with family, friends, and co-workers doesn’t imply control over their choices or actions. Instead, it necessitates a commitment to holding them accountable with fairness and empathy. Understanding that nothing is ever entirely personal enables us to navigate relationships with a broader perspective, fostering an environment where accountability is a tool for growth, not a source of conflict.

So, as you unapologetically embrace your own journey of growth and self-expression, extend the same courtesy to those around you. Recognise that each person is on their unique path, and setting realistic expectations is not only an act of kindness but also a foundation for harmonious relationships.

(The writer is a mental health and behavioural sciences columnist, conducts art therapy workshops and provides personality development sessions for young adults. She can be found @the_millennial_pilgrim on Instagram and Twitter)

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