Finding Our Purpose In Kindness

Finding Our Purpose In Kindnesss

We are inclined to find purpose in hate. It is easy for us to embrace the dark side of hate, love, and kindness. This blog explains why we must find purpose in kindness.

In retrospect, Yoda certainly got a few things right. Perhaps the moment where his wisdom shined most brightly was in response to a young Luke Skywalker’s question regarding the “dark side” of the force. Luke asked, “Is the dark side stronger?” Yoda’s immediate response was “No – quicker, easier, more seductive.”

Yoda’s wisdom is unfortunately reflected in many of our lives. Let’s face it – it is at times more natural for many of us to embrace the “dark side” of our emotions. Specifically, it is quicker, easier, and more seductive for us to embrace hate than it is to embrace love.

Also read Why Are We So Fearful Of Finding Our Purpose

This hate can take many forms – anger, judgment, frustration, jealousy, envy, and suspicion. But what is consistent is that hate is fundamentally unkind. We often dehumanize and marginalize the target of our hate. They are less people and more objects that cause us pain and, therefore, are deserving of our hateful emotions. In fact, as time goes on and our hate grows, it fills our thoughts, our feelings, and our behaviors. It seems as though being hateful and unkind becomes our purpose – not dissimilar from Darth Vader.

In contrast, love can feel like a somewhat elusive emotion. All of the various forms of love – from empathy, compassion, and caring to connection and respect – revolve around a basic sense of kindness. Love fundamentally reaffirms a sense of a person’s worth and humanity. And yet it feels as though it takes more time and effort to build and sustain love.

kindness What A Simple Way To Tell Another Struggling Soul

There needs to be consistency in our experience of love so that we can grow to count on it and trust it. Once we’ve built up our trust, we feel more comfortable in expressing and receiving love. And only then will we allow ourselves to find purpose in love – to build our lives around loving and being loved. Otherwise, we often find ourselves drifting from these loving feelings as we embrace the “dark side” of hate and unkindness.

And this process of embracing hate over love is an equal opportunity employer. We are just as likely to hate rather than love ourselves as we do others. We tend to easily believe our more self-critical and shaming narratives about ourselves without challenge. In contrast, we can be more doubtful or even suspicious of kind words or deeds from others and don’t tend to adopt them into our own self-talk. Thus, when we talk about ourselves, it seems as though we are singularly committed to and focused on tearing ourselves down rather than building ourselves up.

Why we can’t embrace the bright side of hate and kindness?

There are several possible reasons. For some of us, we are simply reacting to our environment.

We have heard more hateful than loving messages in our life.

Perhaps we were in a family that focused more on criticism than praise. In a school of hundreds, maybe we can count only a handful of people as friends, with many others passively or actively disliking us.

  • Maybe we are rejected by several people before being fortunate enough to find someone who is romantically interested in us, and the rejection can often be defeating and insulting.

A job search could involve hundreds of resumes sent out in the hopes of one interview, let alone a job offer, making us doubt our qualifications to be productive in the world. So why not assume the world is unkind and that we should feel and act accordingly?

Also, read 8 Mindset Shifts To Stop Repetitive Destructive Thoughts

Another possibility is that we struggled receiving love because it did not match how we felt physically or emotionally.

For example, if we struggle with depression, we are biologically wired to be more aware of, focus on, and remember unkind and hateful information that matches our mood state. It feels more real and truthful to us as compared to someone complimenting us. Because how can someone love us when we feel so badly? Or if we are in chronic pain from an injury, the positive feedback we may receive is drowned out by our focus on our physical pain.

But one reason that we embrace the dark side is that we are actually trying to be kind and loving by protecting ourselves.

For example, we may refrain from basking in the glow of receiving a good grade in school for fear of becoming complacent and not working as hard. Or if there is someone who has somehow hurt us, we may avoid being kind to them and letting our guard down to prevent being hurt more.

And if we have already been more attuned to unkind or hateful feedback from the world, we may find a more traditional kind and loving thoughts, feelings, and behaviors towards ourselves and others to be more elusive. Thus, we find purpose in harnessing the power of the dark side to support self-protection.

And there is some truth to these suppositions.

Also, read The Art Of Receiving: Why Is It So Difficult To Receive?

Our emotions are designed to motivate us to a degree.

For example, it is adaptive to feel anxious in the presence or possibility of danger. Similarly, it is useful to feel anger towards people who have wronged us.

But the result is an unfortunate cycle whereby we soon find that we are consumed with our hate and have less emotional space and energy for love. And we find that the simple process of loving and being loved is disrupted – as are the benefits that we receive from that process such as finding connection with ourselves and others.

I have been thinking a lot about this issue since talking with John Joseph on The Hardcore Humanism Podcast. Despite the adversity he has faced throughout his life – abuse, neglect, incarceration, homelessness and addiction – he constantly returns to kindness. He has dedicated himself to being kind to himself and to helping others as he makes progress on his purpose-driven goals. And our conversation got me thinking about how we can be more open to both loving and being loved.

So, what do we do?

Overall, rather than finding purpose in hate, we must find purpose in kindness.

The Reason Why Some People Are So Kind

To be sure, there is always a reason for us to hate. And those reasons may feel and actually be quite legitimate. In fact, it’s in recognition of how easily we can be pulled into a hateful, unkind place that we must assert our determination to find purpose in kindness.

This may sound hippy-dippy – but it boils down to very concrete and practical thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Specifically, we must make loving – being kind, compassionate, caring, and giving – a priority in daily practice. We must focus the way we understand and evaluate our lives into two core processes — loving and being loved.

How do we love ourselves and how do we love others, and how do we receive love from ourselves and from others. And we must evaluate what we are thinking, feeling and doing from that perspective. Suddenly, it becomes easier to determine which things we are thinking, doing or feeling that are consistent rather than inconsistent with that kind and loving purpose.

Appreciate kindness

Further, there is a power in finding purpose in kindness. Perhaps the greatest power is that we have control over the process. We can’t always control how we feel. Nor are we always going to be on point with behaving in a kind way to ourselves and towards others. But we control our resolve and determination to make kindness a central focus of our purpose.

Also read Why Healing your Inner Child is Crucial for Self-Growth

At any given moment, there is an infinite number of ways that we can be kind to ourselves and to others. We can decide who we want to be more kind towards and choose concrete loving behaviors that we’d like to undertake. And by putting our focus and actions into daily practice we can build a more loving culture around us.

To be clear, this does not mean ignoring, avoiding, or suppressing the “dark side” of our feelings. It is not a loving act to ignore ourselves or avoid our negative feelings, or the negative feelings of others. This is when we need to employ kindness and listen to ourselves and to others with the intent of helping rather than suppressing. Ultimately, finding purpose in kindness feels better. Over time, it will feel more enticing and natural to be kind and to connect with ourselves and others.

And the dark side won’t feel nearly as quick, easy, or seductive.

Are you ready to find purpose in kindness? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.


Written by: Michael Friedman, Ph.D
Originally appeared on: Hardcorehumanism.com
Republished with permission
Finding Our Purpose In Kindnesss pin
Ads

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Up Next

Do You Get Offended Easily? 5 Reasons Why And How To Deal With This

Do You Get Offended Easily? Reasons Why You Feel Like This

Are you easily offended and find yourself in a huff over the smallest things? You’re not alone. When you get offended easily, it can be a real struggle, turning minor hiccups into major headaches. But hey, there’s a silver lining—understanding the reasons why you get easily offended & learning how to dial down the drama can make all the difference.

Maybe you don’t get offended easily. If so, kudos!

Or maybe…

You already know you get offended easily (even if it’s just about one specific topic or issue), and it’s something you’re ready to address.

You suspect you’re more



Up Next

The Burnt Toast Theory: 5 Lessons To Learn From Unpredictability In Life

What Is The Burnt Toast Theory? Important Lessons To Learn

Did you burn your morning toast this morning? As frustrating as it is, what if I told you that it might have protected you from something worse?The Burnt Toast Theory of Life is a viral idea that has been floating around on TikTok and changes the way we look at life and has us accepting the curveballs of life!

What Is The Burnt Toast Theory of Life?

The “Burnt Toast Theory” is an allegory that is commonly used in self-help and motivational circles.

According to its creator Ingrid, when life hands us lemons (or burnt toast), it could be steering us away from things we don’t need



Up Next

How To Stop Being Negative In Your Relationship? 4 Strategies That Can Make A Difference

How To Stop Being Negative In A Relationship? Strategies

Negativity in relationships is like slow poison; with time, negativity can ruin a relationship for good. So, how to stop being negative in a relationship? This article is going to talk about the repercussions of negativity in relationships and how to stop being negative in one.

Many of us have been there.

You bring up an issue with your partner, and you feel attacked by their response. You get defensive and return fire—only for them to do the same. It’s a battle that no one can win.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Making small shifts to your mindset can



Up Next

How To Overcome Arrival Fallacy And Find True Fulfillment 

Arrival Fallacy Alert: Mastering Happiness Beyond Illusions

Ever felt that you will be happy only when you achieve a particular goal? Well, we have all felt like that at some point in our lives. And it makes sense, when you work hard to reach an important goal, your happiness and being becomes tied to it. However, this mindset, known as arrival fallacy in psychology, can have a strong impact on your life and relationships.

So let’s explore the concept of arrival fallacy, what causes arrival fallacy, arrival fallacy in relationships and some helpful tips for overcoming arrival fallacy. 

What Is Arrival Fallacy?

Arrival fallacy is a false belief that achieving a specific



Up Next

How To Speak With Care to Yourself and Others? 8 Strategies For Practicing Right Speech

Right Speech: Strategies For Practicing Right Speech

If you are frustrated of yourself for putting your foot in your mouth all the time, then this you’ve come to the right place. Explore how to practice Right Speech as advised by The Buddha, and how practicing Right Speech can go a long way in helping you be more mindful.

KEY POINTS

People can learn to control their speech—both inner and outer—in order to avoid pain and regret.

Changing one’s habit of speech demands practice bringing mindful attention to one’s inner experiences.

One can practice being mindful when it counts, rather than trying to be mindful all the time.



Up Next

How To Handle Political Differences In Your Relationships: Strengthening Ties

Political Differences In Your Relationships: Empower Harmony

Dealing with political differences in your relationships can feel like a slippery slope. So now the question is how to handle political differences in your relationships? This article is going to talk about the best way to handle political differences with someone you love, without alienating them.

We are tied to our beliefs, and the more opposition we run up against, often, the stronger these beliefs become.

How do you feel when someone implies that your political beliefs are “wrong?” If you’re like most people, it fuels the fire within you and you put on your fighting gloves, ready to strike the second you hear one more, “But…”



Up Next

The Power Of Intention For Living Fully: 5 Ways Of Clarifying Your Intentions

The Power Of Intention: Ways Of Clarifying Your Intentions

Living with intention is one of the most powerful skills to learn, and once you understand the power of intention, and learn how to master it, you’ll see how much your life changes for the better. Let’s explore the power of intention, and what it means living a life of intention.

KEY POINTS

Intention is knowing who we want to be and where we want to go, as well as how we navigate getting there.

We can feel discomfort when we live out of alignment with our intentions.

Clarifying our intentions and recommitting ourselves to them regularly helps us feel confident and vibran