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Your Kindness Is Good For You
July 9, 2014 5:05 AM   Subscribe

Why we could all use a little more self-examination.

Further reading referenced in the article:

Altruism, Happiness, and Health: It’s Good to Be Good by Stephen G. Post (International Journal of Behavioral Medicine) [pdf]

George Saunders’s Advice to Graduates (NYT)
posted by ellieBOA (11 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
Kindness is one of those gifts that is a present for both parties. A good reminder to pause before I unleash the snark.
posted by arcticseal at 5:26 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


I really like this point:
Sometimes the kindest thing we can do is to exercise self-restraint: not posting a nasty comment on an article, leaving a mean-spirited tweet in the draft folder, keeping quiet to listen to whatever unfamiliar or opposing opinion is being offered.
As our culture becomes more focused on the performative - after all, social media requires performance! - and less so on the more indirect ways of expression (it is expression to not express, as shown in the pullquote), what effect will that have on us societally? After all, you don't get praise or recognition for holding your tongue - no one will know you did it. A snarky remark will only bother a few in exchange for the applause of a group.

How do you encourage restraint when that immediate hit of feedback is clearly addictive to many people?
posted by flex at 5:37 AM on July 9 [14 favorites]


There may be no better way to build self-esteem than to perceive value for ourselves through others, which is based on our care and concern for them.
posted by Brian B. at 5:52 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Saunders' speech is beautiful. I'll try to take its message with me. Thanks for posting.
posted by slmorri at 6:06 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


A rather more bracing examination of kindness, specifically contrasting nice vs. kind: Chump Lady.
posted by Sublimity at 6:24 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


flex, I disagree. I think that there are many people I know online who very clearly are kind through omission. They talk in great depth about the issues that are important to them, and the kind of things that frustrate them. So, when someone says something that clearly goes against their mindset, in their circle of communication, and they do not respond, I know it is not because they have nothing to say but rather because they are intentionally keeping quiet.
posted by rebent at 6:29 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


From the first link:

"It might be that the greatest act of kindness on the Internet is to be quiet."

The author should have heeded their own advice.

(I kid, I kid...!)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:17 AM on July 9


Related, Science says lasting relationships come down to - you guessed it - kindness and generosity.
posted by gudrun at 8:26 AM on July 9


Good link gudrun, there was a really interesting conversation about that last month.
posted by ellieBOA at 9:53 AM on July 9


(Thanks for adding that ellieBOA, I meant to link to the metafilter thread about that article, but linked to the article directly instead.)
posted by gudrun at 11:05 AM on July 9


Sometimes the kindest thing we can do is to exercise self-restraint: not posting a nasty comment on an article, leaving a mean-spirited tweet in the draft folder, keeping quiet to listen to whatever unfamiliar or opposing opinion is being offered.

And the other way around. Especially in some areas, like customer service. If some call center employee has expertly and quickly solved your issue, say so.
posted by DreamerFi at 12:15 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


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