Kindness is also linked to generosity, nurturance, care, compassion, altruistic love and nice-ness. Kindness consists of doing favours and good deeds for others without the expectation of personal gain. This strength requires respect for others but also includes emotional affection. Kind people find joy in the act of giving and helping other people, regardless of their degree of relatedness or similarity.
How to demonstrate this Character Strength:
Movies: As Good As It Gets (1997), The Cider House Rules (1999), Promise (1986)
Music: Lean on Me (Al Green), You’ve Got a Friend (James Taylor or Mariah Carey), Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper), Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon and Garfunkel of Johnny Cash), I’ll Be There For You (The Rembrants)
Suggested strategies that correlate with this strength:
- Do three random acts of kindness per week for those whom you know (i.e. small favours for friends and neighbours, calling sick or sad friends, getting groceries for a friend busy in exams, or baby sitting etc).
- Do one random act of kindness weekly for someone you don’t know.
- Donate blood periodically
- Visit someone who is sick and in the hospital
- Visit someone who is in a nursing home or hospice
- Give gifts to others which involved experiential activities
- Take out a friend on a surprise dinner and pay for it
- Say kinder and softer words to people when interacting with them through email, writing letters, talking on the phone.
- Cook a nice meal for your loved ones.
- Share your belongings with others (i.e. lawn mower, jump cables, cooking dish)
- Make an inventory of your possessions, keep only what you absolutely need, and donate the rest
- Donate your tie to others through helpful actions
- Greet others with a smile
- While driving, give way to others or hold the door.
- Help fix someone’s flat tire.
- Fix a community apparatus (such as playground equipment_ even if you did not break up
- Stop and help someone who needs help on a highway
- Pic up a piece of rubbish on the ground and bin it if you see it – notice how good it makes you feel that you picked it up and helped.
To exercise “Pay It Forward” means to commit a random act of kindness for someone, which is viewed as an adaptive strategy that is mutually beneficial for the giver and receiver. It is proven to boost kindness and contribute to the betterment of others.
This method is supported by a large amount of research around this type of exercising kindness strategy by scientists and researchers such as Otale et al (2006); Baker and Bulkley (2014); Pressman et al, (2015), Layous, Nelson, Oberle, Schonert-Reichl, & Lyubomirsky (2012) and Lefevor and Fowers (2016) who found that this activity creates a reciprocal relationship between kindness and happiness which creates motivation and fosters positive emotion. Essentially it creates a win-win scenario for both parties involved.
How to “Pay It Forward”
- Commit a random act of kindness that brings benefit to others and is not done so that you can receive a favor in return.
- Put a plan together to regularly integrate a kind act into your daily or weekly schedule. Make an effort to vary your activities, allowing some to be spontaneous and some to be planned, in order to keep the action fresh and energising, so that they don’t feel forced or contrived.
- Remember that if the random act of kindness no longer feels energising, fun or genuine, then consider taking a break for a week or a month and return to it in the future.
By monitoring the above, you will be able to catch when there is an incongruence in this personal strength. An incongruence will compromise you and cause inner conflict, so the above will help you keep on the right track.
Yours in wellness,
Clinical Director I Brain Training Australia I Perth WA
Niemiec, R. M, 2017, Character Strengths Interventions, Hogrefe, Boston
Tayyab, R., Anjum, A., 2005, 340 Ways to Use VIA Character Strengths, University of Pennsylvania