Is Your Relationship Rich and Creamy?
Is the milk of (human) kindness in your relationship a lovely rich full-cream milk, that kinda-maybe low fat stuff, or just thin watery skim?
Most relationships have phases of complacency, ruts of weariness and the kinds of dips into thoughtlessness that border on unkindness. Whether it’s your partner, your Best Friend, or a family member, sometimes things can get a little lackadaisical on the kindness front.
Despite the best of intentions and aspirations, it happens.
Time to Ponder
So I thought a bit of reflection on matters “kind” wouldn’t go astray.
If I’m truthful, I was hoping that my question might actually needle you just a teensy bit! And maybe get you pulling up your socks as well! (After all, isn’t that what I’m here for?)
Dictionaries define kindness as consideration and helpfulness. Wikipedia tells us that Aristotle said it is:
“helpfulness towards someone in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped.”
That seems to make it pretty clear what kindness IS and ISN’T.
Now back to that reflecting stuff!
To make it easier, let’s just focus on one relationship.
You can choose which one. Partner? Besty? Parent? Granny? Brother or sister? SOMEONE you value having in your life.
The Rich and Creamy Scale
Now, have a bit of a think and ‘fess up to yourself, when WAS your last random act of kindness towards them?
I’m talking about a REAL act of kindness, one that matches those definitions. One that had no obligation, and no benefit for you. An action that may have looked like a simple gesture, but contained heartfelt desire to please, and maybe even surprise.
What about the time before that? And the one before that? And …
And how far apart were they?
So in this relationship, how much cream is there in that milk of human kindness? How much love and care are you putting into that person’s love tank with plain simple kindness? Is there enough to froth up a rich cappuccino? Does it have a bit of the kinda-maybes about it? Or is it more like thin watery skim?
Have you ever actually thought about what kindness looks like and feels like? Hopefully, this month’s Calm Space theme is getting the thoughts flying.
For me, kindness is:
- presence – at times of strong emotion AND moments of quiet, shared nothingness
- words -of acknowledgment and affirmation, of support, of vulnerability, of connection
- simple actions – to help, to share a task, to add a shoulder to the grindstone
- laughter – to lift spirits, to acknowledge the idiotic and the frustrating, to share the moment
- touch – perhaps fleeting, definitely undemanding, but connecting with the spirit of another human
- shared beauty – often Mother Nature, but also art, music, theatre
Of course, what you think is kindness may not be what your partner or your mother or your besty sees the same way.
If you don’t know, how will you expand your horizons? How can you grow any relationship without first, and frequently, bringing kindness to it? So have you ever asked? Could that be somewhere to start?
And, of course the other question to be asked is: “Do you stop yourself long enough to recognize kindness as it comes towards you?”
So, how do you offer the myriad small kindnesses to the people you love? And what kindnesses to and from others touch your soul?
For it is in giving that we receive
~St Francis of Assisi
Image: Carsten Schertzer
About Our Relationship Space Contributor
Aussie-based Chris Owen, of Pink Apple, is a Marriage Mentor who helps couples refashion their ordinary marriages into Joy-Filled Marriages that Last a Lifetime. While she waits for her new website to be ready, she can be found on Facebook sharing lots of useful, and sometimes amusing, resources for couples.