Kindness Matters to Your Fulfillment

Kindness is needed for your own inner fulfillment and is one of the highest expressions of human development. The Roman philosopher, Seneca.

This morning, I saw a subject headline on Psychology Today online that said: Too Nice for Your Own Good?” Most of the articles under this headline talked about surveys and studies that show the perils of being kind, especially in the workplace. Nicer people make less money than their rude coworkers and get rewarded less for their work efforts. They finish last, they say. I’m not surprised by these findings. If we think  aggressive behavior is vital to success and achievement, it will become fact, and you’ll get study results that reinforce this cultural narrative. No matter that all religions and faiths talk about kindness as vital to humanity (The Eight Fold Path of Buddhism, the Bible of the Christian faith, the Talmud of the Jewish faith, and the Koran of Islam), we generally think of kindness as a weakness rather than a strength.

It’s time that we put kindness up front and center as a character strength rather than a weakness. But, we can’t do this until we appreciate better why we fear letting our capacity for kindness shine through.  Authors Phillips and Taylor’s book On Kindness contends that we are all battling against our innate tendency to be kind. At every turn, they say, kindness wants to burst forth from us, but we may hesitate to let it come forward, because of its unpredictable consequences.

Hence, kindness is an exchange that opens you to surprises, some of which may make you uncomfortable and put you at risk. But, what exactly do you risk by letting kindness guide your thoughts, feelings, and actions? Mingling your desires and needs with the desires and needs of other people may open you to new experiences, some of which may challenge what you identify with in life. No matter, I assure you kindness opens you to the remarkable in living.

For example, just the other day, I took time out from my schedule to shop for a new pair of jeans. I stopped to pet a woman’s dog, and this led her to tell me about some of her problems. Although I was in a rush, I stayed and listened to her. She thanked me many times for listening and apologized for taking my time. I had lost nothing through this exchange, other than a delay in my schedule. This was a slightly uncomfortable consequence of mixing up my desires and needs with hers’. But, there was a positive consequence to our exchange as well. I was reminded that even on an ordinary day, in the most mundane setting (a shopping center), there are chances to experience my humanity, if I take the time. This very nice woman could not help herself that day, because of the stress that she felt. Her suffering reminded me of just how much stress can create an overwhelming need that might lead any of us to act in ways atypical to our normal behavior. I hope that I helped to ease her pain a bit that day. Little did she know that her need gave me a chance to get my daily dose of authentic fulfillment. I walked away in awe of life. Experiencing once again a core truth about existence; that is, if you want to experience the kind of fulfillment in life that deepens your appreciation for living, you have to take time out to be kind.

Indeed, kindness takes strength. You have to give of yourself in ways that may stretch your understanding, compassion, and generosity. You also have to put your biases aside and reach deep down inside of you for experiences that help you to relate to another person’s suffering and need. If you don’t take time in your life to connect to other people through their need, you limit opportunities for true living fulfillment. You may fool yourself as to the source of  life enjoyment as being solely in material acquisition. But, this fulfillment is temporary; it comes and goes along with your material possessions.

Hence, kindness is not just about helping others, it is about nourishing you with experiences that open you to the extraordinary in living. Don’t let some of the risk involved in helping stop you from letting your inner kindness burst forth. You deprive yourself of experiences that make you appreciate life, no matter what is happening for you.

I hope you liked my post today and have taken away something beneficial for your everyday living. If so, please say so by selecting the Like icon that immediately follows. I look forward to your comments and reflections on today’s topic.

Note: The image used in this post is from


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7 Responses to “Kindness Matters to Your Fulfillment”

  1. “YES!” “Too nice for your own good”…HOGWASH! As it is said, a little kindness goes a long way & I do believe that it is self re-generating…so how could it NOT make our life experience more fulfilling & fruitful! I believe that I posted the following thought to you Dr. D. re: a similar issue, but will share it again in concurrence with this, yet another, worthwhile article offered by you:

    The very essence and beauty of the human spirit is only realized when we open our hearts fully and give of them, freely, ALL that we have to offer. Then, we must open them even wider in order to receive ALL that we have given away… many times over…our spirit is thereby nourished, fulfilled and made content in it’s fullness… replenished, in order to give again. Thereby, we nourish one another and enable our souls to thrive!…PACE E AMORE!
    Thank you, Dr. D. for another great article. Have a wonderful weekend filled with mutual kindness among those you love!

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hogwash is right Dennis. Kindness is self-regenerating, as you say. Thank you for sharing your wisdom about the heart. When all is said and done, nothing else really matters than how much we can open our hearts to give and to receive. Peace and love to you and yours as well Dennis. Warmly, Deborah.

  2. avatar Persi says:

    What is interesting to me is most people are kind without even knowing or intending to achieve “fulfillment.” I guess that is the way they are (i.e. gene-related kindness or the way they were brought up.)

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hi Persi, you are right. I think you highlight an important feature of kindness here. It is so spontaneous, there is little thought if at all about being kind. It’s a natural response. I pose that beneath our learning and biases, there is a natural tendency for human beings to be kind. But, I also like what you say here about gene-related kindness. Interesting, something to be researched. Thank you Persi for visiting and sharing your thoughts with us. Warm regards, Deborah!

  3. avatar christina says:

    i have often stated people mistake my kindness for stupidity. this just reenforces this belief.


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