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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Writing Prompt 41: Kindness

Prompt: Define kindness

When I saw this prompt, I immediately thought of a Fruits Basket quote that Tohru remembers from her mother.

Kyoko- "True kindness isn't something we're born with. It's something we have to work at. Not everyone has it. But I think everyone has the potential. Sometimes you just have to look really close before you can tell it's there.
Tohru (about her mother)- " . .  .she said that kindness is something that grows inside of each person's body, but it's up to us to nurture that kindness in our hearts. That's why kindness is different for every person. We’re all born with selfish desires, so we can relate to those feelings in each other. But kindness is something made individually by each person, so it’s easy to misunderstand when others are trying to be kind to you.

I really agree with these quotes. I believe that everyone has a different version of kindness based on the experiences they have had with others. But I also think that whatever definition people give for kindness is also based on how they view themselves. 

Defining kindness is not an easy thing. I guess that's why it's a writing prompt. But this idea raises many questions. What makes a person kind? Does it really depend on how others view them? Why is someone kind, really? Are people kind once they experience pain and suffering?
I think kindness has to do with understanding. Once you know what someone is going through, or understand how they feel, it's very easy to be kind to them.

Kindness has layers.
There's the general kindness: holding a door open for someone, helping someone look for something, saying please and thank you.
There's a deeper layer of kindness: being there for a friend, helping someone in your family, doing what you can to make a loved one feel better.
But there's one more layer of kindness that goes on a more personal level: seeing someone in a situation you have been in before and helping them as best you can.
This is not always easy, and it is a rarity in many cases. Some people respond positively to kindness, and others take offense. Some people only want attention, and others are so stubborn they refuse to have anything to do with help.
I think my definition of kindness is doing what you can to help others around you.

The kindest people in the world know how unkind the world can be.

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