Being Kind

Being Kind is about your power and how you use it.
Understanding your sources of power helps you identify your options–paths of action you can choose. Having options gives you power, but you have no power unless you are aware of your options. Chances are you have more power than you think in many situations. Chances also are that in relationships where you think you have a great deal of power, others have more power than you think they do. You have many power currencies to draw upon. Get in touch with them and examine how you use them.


Respecting others’ self-determination in many ways is the essence of kindness. You can use your power to force others, against their will, to do what you wish, but it is unkind to do so. It is also unwise.
What is your reaction when you are forced to do something against your will? Resentment? Blaming? Maybe even desire for revenge. And so it is with others. Force or coercion of any kind, fuels a cycle of conflict. Perhaps not immediately, but definitely in time. It sows the seeds of discontent. It is bad karma. In truth, it is a failure on your part to use all your non-coercive power to persuade the person to make a different decision.

In Contrast: Being Kind is not:

You are not kind when:
  • You respond to force with force.
  • You lie to get what you want.
  • You respond to lies with lies.
  • You let anger drive your desire to harm another and you act on it.
  • You beat the crap out of someone, anyone, literally or figuratively-–even in something that is just a game.
  • You twist someone’s arm to get them to go along with you.
  • You use fear and threats of punishment or harm to motivate others to follow or obey you.
  • You punish others long and hard, so they learn a lesson when they do wrong.
  • You roll over the interests of others because there isn't time to deal with them.
  • You ignore the suffering or needs of others because you are not responsible for them.
  • You do something, or neglect to do something, in order to get back at another person.
  • You are passive aggressive saying yes and doing nothing because you didn't want to or didn't feel like it.
  • You further the suffering of others by taking advantage of their weakness.
  • You further the suffering of others by enabling it actively or even passively.
  • You run away from trouble with another or quit when trouble becomes not worth it.

How do you respond to a bully?
What sources of power do you call upon?
Is being kind weak and cowardly?

You are brave because you are vulnerable. You are strong enough to be vulnerable.
Which is more brave? Stopping a bully by beating them up, or facing a bully without resorting to violence? Being kind means you expose yourself to possible harm-–be it physical, emotional, economic, reputational, temporal, and so on. You take the risk. You refuse to use the ways of the bully in response to the bully. You also don't run away from conflict with a bully unless it is just to buy some time, to retreat temporarily, in order to organize, consider your options, and find your sources of power.
You don’t passively submit to the bully.

The classic advice is to stand up to a bully. Being relational means you don’t stand up to a bully by returning the bully’s violence with violence, intimidation with intimidation, lies with lies. You sit down with a bully-–if possible. If need be, you wear them out with dialogue – relentless engagement. When you are afraid or angry, that might be the hardest and bravest thing you ever do.
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The Seven Ways of Being Relational

As you make choices about what you do or don't do, what you say or don't say, what you support or oppose, in each instance you may or may not be relational.

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Being Engaged

Will you engage with others seeking quality interaction or will you stonewall, ignore, avoid, and evade?

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Being Centered

Will you be centered or will you react and act on your emotions?
Will you be unitive or will you recklessly align with others to create divisive coalitions?

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Being Grounded

Will you stay grounded or will you let your thinking about what should be, could be, or used to be cause suffering for you and others around you?

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Being Clear

Will you be clear or will you use clever words and deception to get your way or get out of trouble?

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Being Generous

Will you be generous or will you let your fear of scarcity and desire for more prevent you from sharing with others?

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Being Humble

Will you be humble or do you believe that you deserve special treatment and what you expect of others shouldn't be expected of you?

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Being Kind

Will you be kind or will you use your power and resources to force others to do what you want them to do?

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The Choice is Yours.

Master the ways of Being Relational. Incorporate them into your life and change the world one interaction at a time.

Explore Being Kind

Being kind means you are not a bully. But it also means that you don't respond to the bully by using power in any of the ways the bully uses power.

Orans

How does kindness respond to the bully? With kindness. But that’s not weakness or cowardice. Rather it is kindness in strength and with courage. You don’t ignore the conflict; you engage with it.

Orans