Happiness and kindness…what do we know and what could we learn?

Happiness and kindness…what do we know and what could we learn?

I was thinking of posting this article some time soon and funnily enough, I was talking to a client just night about compassion and kindness and how although they're great in almost every way, they might also need to be (like so many other things) moderated and used appropriately. 

So I will, as planned, post this article and I look forward to reading what you think…

…it starts like this: 

Compassion is like happiness. Obviously a great good. And yet, I think it is also like happiness in another way. Its realisation is far more tricky than perhaps first meets the eye. A number of thoughts came to mind as I tried to think it through.

Take the business of practising compassion. One can clearly will oneself to do a kindness here, offer a comforting word there. A fraction of the world would be a better place for it. But a concern came to my mind that reaching out might become like the injunction to eat five pieces of fruit'n'veg a day. It becomes a burden, one that you chastise yourself for not fulfilling. Your efforts to show compassion to others become a regular reprimand to yourself.

There is also the danger of tokenism. One act of compassion is used, perhaps unconsciously, to alleviate the guilt of the many quietly abusive acts that can fill an average working day. Or, do I visit my uncle in the care home because I care for him or because I feel secret remorse for his being there in the first place?

This is all counterproductive, if you follow Gandhi's line of thought that you must be the change that you want to see in the world. So I have the sense that being compassionate towards others requires being compassionate towards yourself too: serious intent, light touch.

…It continues and can be read in full HERE

And once you've digested it, let us know what you think by posting your thoughts and comments HERE on the Happiness Institute's Facebook page.