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Archive for March 27th, 2018

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What is kindness and what is the opposite of kindness?

Those were the two questions I asked on my FaceBook account, a few weeks ago.

Over fifty-five people responded, mostly females, varying in ages from four to … retired (I wouldn’t want to be unkind in my estimates). Those who responded live in North America, mostly in Canada.

I decided to break the two questions into two posts, and reverse the questions.

What is the opposite of kindness?

To respond to what is the opposite of kindness is much more difficult than the reverse, and a number of people indicated that to be the case.

One person said that the opposite of kindness is “one who lacks patience, grace and self control letting their emotions take over to be disrespectful”. Another said, it is “anything that makes anyone feel anything but joy, self worth and loved”. Still another simply said that the opposite of kindness is “wickedness”.

We don’t have to go too far to see what an absence of kindness looks like. As long as our humanity, our world struggles, we will continue to see and experience a lack of kindness.

If I were to break all of the responses down to two words that are the opposite of kindness, they would be selfishness and apathy.

Probably half of all responses fit into those two words. Though other words, such as neglect, meanness, greed, indifference, disloyalty, cold, rude, bitterness, darkness, cruelty, self-absorption, and thoughtlessness may have been the different words used, they all communicate selfishness and apathy.

Either we are unkind because we are too concerned with ourselves, or we just don’t care about others.

A response from one friend was of an image of two wolves, with opposite characteristics, and it reminded me of this story:

A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other. 

One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear.

The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”

The grandfather quietly replies, the one you feed.

Perhaps we need to feed love, bravery and … kindness, in every day of our lives. And to feed these things might just change the world around us.

 

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