Kill ‘em with kindness… May 16, 2016 – Posted in: Leaders and Teams, Relationships – Tags: confidence, Positive psychology
I have a strong belief that all unkindness is rooted in unhappiness and fear. The people I know who are frequently unkind are usually very, very unhappy with themselves and with their lives. They are afraid of what people think of them, they are afraid of rejection, afraid that someone might be ‘better’ than them in some way, afraid of the future etc., etc…
So, if someone is unkind they are probably unhappy and afraid. Remember this when you encounter unkindness and you might be able to respond differently.
If someone is mean to you, try to be as kind to them as you can be. I don’t mean creep around them. I don’t mean flatter them. I certainly don’t mean allow them to walk all over you. I do mean listen to them, be patient, soften your body language and smile. Say that you would like to understand what is really going on for them so that you can respond appropriately.
Here’s an example from my own life years ago…
I had a neighbour who mistakenly thought I had said something about her to another person. I hadn’t but she was convinced I had. She confronted me at my doorstep and was really rude! I had just started practising kindness as verb (not just as a noun) so, with Herculean effort, I went against my auto-response and asked her to explain what she had heard because it was important to me to be able to sort this out with her.
She then described overhearing something said about her a couple of days before when myself and my children had been away. So, it couldn’t have been me. I was able to explain this to her and she softened, apologised and we then started discussing the weather (as you do in the UK!).
It was over before it had even started because I had decided to give kindness a go.
And, it turned out that she was having a really hard time in her personal life, which explained why she was so rude.
That day taught me a massive lesson in how to be kind whilst retaining my self-esteem. And, I felt amazing afterwards because she and I had grown closer in that moment when it could have so easily gone the other way.
Another reason why kindness is so crucial to your confidence…