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Ankur Aras

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Is Kindness - Powerful?

Can, 'kindness' - serve as a powerful guide to live?

Topics: life
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  • Jul 11 2012: In my experience, kindness is often most powerful when you can find the self awareness and will to act in contradiction to your natural impulse.

    I have an abstract analogy for you;

    I see the people around me the same way I see a lion or a rabbit. A rabbit is helpless, I wouldn't hurt one and I would certainly help one if i can. A lion is dangerous and it will hurt or kill me if I'm in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Neither the lion nor the rabbit deserve to be hated or hurt.

    Preferably, I would always interact with people as if they were the rabbit with absolute compassion and kindness but when someone is a threat to me, I must protect myself from them like I would a lion.
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      Jul 11 2012: Hi Luke,
      I agree that kindness is more powerful when we are self aware and mindful. I also believe that kindness can be a "natural impulse" when we are more aware and mindful.

      You bring up a good point...that we can act/react with kindness and compassion most of the time, and I agree that when someone threatens us, we may react in a way that does not seem kind. Kindness, like everything else in life, flows... in my perception. Sometimes, we can be as kind as possible with another person, and if that person is not willing to accept our kindness, or is in an unkind state in him/her self, it stops the flow.

      You, I, and a few other folks have been called unkind, cruel, and a representative of the devil for not AGREEING with someone. Kindness, to me, does not mean that I will agree all the time. It means that I will interact with respect. If the person is not willing to accept kindness, and sees my disagreement as cruelty, there is nothing more I can do about opening the channels of kindness to a natural flow.
      • Jul 11 2012: Kindness itself is a rather subjective and ambiguous term. There is the stereotypical viewpoint that you should always say positive/constructive/uplifting things but I believe that the intention is the most important aspect of kindness and that requires a deep and honest self awareness.

        It's not at all difficult or uncommon to respond to a comment with the conscious intention of being kind while feeling angry and placing passive aggressive subtle implications in without even realising it. I often convince myself to wait until the next day before I reply to a comment if I can feel that there is too much emotion present to give a balanced response. I will admit though that there have been times when I have failed to convince myself to wait that extra day.

        There is also a matter of different prospectives. If I encounter someone that is clearly upset about something, I might start talking in a tone that I believe sounds concerned and non-threatening. The person I am talking to might hear that choice of tone and believe that I am being condescending.

        I have learnt that you can't necessarily just tell the other person that you're not being condescending, you have to change your strategy to fit their expectations.

        I have found that I cannot have a single universal rulebook with people. Different people have different social contracts they expect you to follow. As with anything else though it's a matter of balance, you can't change everything about yourself to fit someone else’s expectations but you can't expect them to either, compromise is the key.
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          Jul 11 2012: I agree Luke...it is subjective, and a stereotypical viewpoint is that to be kind, we always "should" say positive, uplifting things and not disagree.

          I also agree that intention in our communications is important, that we CAN respond with kindness, although that may not be the only thing we are feeling in the moment, and it does indeed help to wait sometimes. I often read comments several times, in different ways, to understand as well as I can, what the other person is communicating. There are many different styles of communication.

          I also am aware of writing/speaking in a concerned, non-threatening tone, and I have been called passive-aggressive or condescending. Actually, that has only happened here on TED!
          When I started commenting on TED, there were a LOT of folks who said I was too "sugary sweet", not "real", etc. When the TEDcred system was different, I used to get thumbs down a LOT for being "too nice". LOL! That was pretty funny because at the same time as people were asking how to find happiness, contentment, peace and harmony in our world, they were accusing me of being too sugary sweet and kind!

          With electronic communications, we are missing a valuable part of communication....body language, which is about 65% of face to face communications. I agree that it's important to find, or at least seek, balance:>)
      • Jul 11 2012: For me it tends to be the other way around. I find that I miss more with face to face real time interaction because I do not have time to stop and think about what was said before responding.

        Electronically, I can read and re-read what someone has said and re-consider my response several times before settling on one which fits best and feels most likely to communicate the desired message.

        As a rule, I try to always assume the best possible interpretation about what someone has said online and respond to that. If I'm wrong I can always tell them off for being an asshole to me later. :P
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          Jul 11 2012: OKEY DOKEY!!! I'll keep that in mind.....LOL:>)

          Actually, we had a conversation (our first), in which we did not agree...or maybe misunderstood the communication....whatever....you were very much a kind, respectfull gentleman, and I hope I was a kind respectful person as well. Don't tell me that I was an a______ now...it's too late!!! :>)
      • Jul 11 2012: I think kind and respectful gentleman might be a bit more than I deserve, I was a bit frustrated at the time and I'm sure I could have been more thoughtful and tactful. Perhaps the conversation might have been able to continue if I had been more thoughtful and tactful.

        I believe it was a miscommunication and I don't think badly of you for it.
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          Jul 11 2012: Dear Luke,
          I felt your frustration, and I thank you again for reinforcing what I felt at the very end of our discussion....connected, rather than disconnected. My cup is usually half full, rather than half empty:>)

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