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Have you ever heard of the concept of ” Caffè sospeso?” In one of my earlier articles, I wrote about this act of Kindness, which involves paying for someone’s cup of coffee in advance. I encouraged readers to perform random acts of Kindness. It aligns with my purpose of making life a little easier for others.
In his book “Deep Kindness,” Houston Kraft refers to these acts of Kindness as “confetti kindness,” simple actions that can make someone’s day a little brighter. But there’s an even easier form of Kindness: common Kindness. Holding the door open for someone, saying “thank you,” or helping someone pick up something they’ve dropped may seem small, but they can also have a significant impact.
Make Kindness normal—Houston Kraft
Being nice is reactive. For example, waving at a neighbor as you pass by on the street is a nice gesture, but it’s more about making yourself feel good.
Houston Kraft believes we should strive for a deeper level of Kindness – one that overcomes fear, judgment, selfishness, and failure. This kind of Kindness requires empathy, courage, resilience, and consistency. It’s not just about paying for someone’s coffee or smiling at a stranger, but about actively taking steps to care for others. He calls this Deep Kindness
Deep Kindness is proactive. It means stopping on the street to ask a neighbor how they’re doing, even if you’re in a hurry. It’s about showing care for others without expecting anything in return. And it’s a consistent practice, not just a one-time action, like confetti Kindness.
“Kindness without empathy is being nice.”—Houston Kraft
Houston Kraft explains that there are three main reasons why we might hesitate to be kind: incompetence, insecurity, and inconvenience. These barriers all stem from our own personal fears and doubts, but we can overcome them with practice and effort.
-Do you know what to say when seeing a woman cry on a bus?
-Can you listen to someone spilling out all their troubles to you?
-Is it possible for you to have empathy or even compassion for those going through a rough time?
Incompetence involves feeling like we don’t know how to respond in certain situations, such as when someone is crying on a bus. But learning to be empathetic, compassionate, vulnerable, and forgiving is possible.
Insecurities about ourselves are a barrier to our connection with others, writes Houston Kraft. If we do not know the outcome of something, we tend not to take risks and act. People could judge us, laugh at us, or we could feel like a failure. If I am worried about failing someone by being Kind, I would be too scared to act. Deep Kindness takes courage and requires you to master fear.
All the inconveniences in our life, like hunger or needing to finish that last proposal for work, prevent us from being Kind. We live in a busy world with our to-do lists and yearning to be productive. By being “busy,” we avoid the things that have a priority in our life. That leaves little time for being Kind. So, start by making a to-be list instead of a to-do list.
“Nice happens when there’s time. Kindness happens because we make time. Nice expects something in return, while Kindness is free from expectation.”—Houston Kraft
For me, it is very difficult to be Kind (let alone nice) when I am hangry.
It requires energy to be Kind. If you’re too busy with your life, work, or hobbies, then there’s not much energy (nor time) left for being Kind. Sleeping and eating well are important for energy and controlling our emotions.
Consistency is key to developing the habit of Kindness. By being consistent in our actions, we can create a new habit of Kindness.
->Read this article on creating new habits
We can be more consistent if we know who we are, our talents and values, what we want in life, and why. Having clarity and being specific makes it easier to act on what we want and don’t want.
“If we don’t know the why of a thing, the what or the how quickly gets flimsy.”—Kaedan
Deep Kindness in action
I will focus more on deep Kindness and develop this habit using my character strengths. It aligns well with my WHY: “To facilitate so others can elevate themselves and experience more love in their life.” Also, I will focus on being Kind when I am hangry!
That doesn’t mean I will stop doing random acts of Kindness and being nice. The world needs more Kindness. As Houston Kraft writes, Random acts of Kindness are a beautiful indication of a heart that leans toward love. Random acts of Kindness are the sprinkles that bedazzle the ice cream. Deep Kindness requires flavor selection, scooping, packing, and (hopefully) a waffle cone.
What I didn’t like about the book and why you should not read it
It’s too short! I enjoy reading stories to illustrate certain points, such as the story of Houston’s mom, who put a Post-it note with a special message in every lunch bag for him. This illustrates consistency.
Houston writes on page 75 that forgiveness is closely associated with happiness. I understand you’re happier when you forgive yourself and others because you are no longer sad about a situation. This is an example of a point that could be elaborated more (with a story).
Thus, don’t read the book if you are looking for many stories.
People who master the skill of Deep Kindness (like Ria and Marius 😉) also don’t need to read this book (but you’re welcome to do so).
What I liked about the book and why you should read it
Read this book if you’re looking for a practical guide on how to develop Deep Kindness. It includes many questions for self-reflection and even a thirty-day challenge to be consistent in Deep Kindness. It is an excellent book to help you in your personal development.
Although there could have been more, I loved the stories like the one of Keadan, who came early to school daily to hold the door for everyone so they did not need to feel as lonely as he did.
Who should read this book?
This book is especially for people who want to make the world a little bit better in a sustainable way by being Kind. Please also read this book when you’re a:
-doctor or therapist
I hope this article inspires you to prioritize Kindness in your own life, as we all have the power to impact others positively.
What is Kindness to you? How do you develop your Kindness skills? Let me know in the comment field below. The other readers of this article. and I are looking forward to reading from you!
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-Houston Kraft, Deep Kindness