The Dark Side of Kindness
Humility, kindness, support. These three traits all have a dark-side. Have you seen how these actions can wreak havoc in your life?
Depending on how you grew up, you may fall prey to the flipside of these actions.
Your MOTIVATIONS behind these actions is what changes these actions from positive to negative.
“A modest or low view of one's own importance”
Humility, when come by honestly, can be a beautiful thing. However, it is extremely easy to force/fake humility. Some reasons an individual might do this are:
- Lacking self confidence
- Self-deprecation to make someone feel better about themselves
- Misunderstanding of humility
- Belief that humility is key to being someone “good”, even if not part of their nature
When being humble is encased in any of the packaging above, you are left living a unhappy life. Why? Because there is an motive behind your "humble" actions. More often than not, when someone is being “humble” they are simply seeking validation and reassurance from others in a passive way.
You may have found that you are able to squeeze compliments and admiration out of your friends and family as a result of diminishing yourself. That is not humility. That is manipulation. In these situations your happiness lies in the opinions of others. If you do not receive the response you were hoping for, you are left confused and wanting.
True humility is not a struggle, you simply do not toot-your-own-horn, but rather let your actions speak for themselves.
Kindness is taught to us as children. The kinder you are, the more you are associated with being “good”, the more you are associated with being “good” the more rewards you receive.
As children we are unable to understand the many connections that lead from kindness equals reward, but kept unchecked kindness too can be false.
Why would someone fake kindness? There is a very high probability that the individual doesn’t even know that they are faking it. Here are a few examples of fake kindness.
- Taking someone to the airport and then whining to yourself or your friends the entire drive home about the traffic or how it took up so much time in your day.
- Helping someone move and posting it all over your instagram to prove to yourself and others that you are a kind person.
- Helping someone simply because you want something in return.
- Only helping because you want the person to tell you what an awesome person and friend you are.
Once again, it comes down to your MOTIVATION. There are people who naturally want to be kind and overly helpful. Truly kind people are rare. In order for your kindness to authentic, you have to take yourself out of the equation. You are doing something simply because it helps your friend/family, no strings attached.
If you leave feeling bitter and full of resentment, you should check in with yourself and ask why you went to “help” if your heart wasn’t in it.
One key feature of someone who has a healthy dose of kindness, is the ability to set BOUNDARIES. They do not always have to jump in and help. They do not always put others before themselves. They have self-respect and choose their friends wisely because many people will want to take advantage of a kind-hearted person.
This trait goes hand-in-hand with humility and kindness. It is otherwise commonly referred to as “people-pleasing” when it has no boundaries. Support or people-pleasing is the constant need to make other people feel good about themselves or their decisions.
What are some reasons you may support others in an unhealthy way?
- You want to feel needed and valued
- You want the person to like you
- You want to tell yourself you are a good person
If you truly want to support others, you do it because you care about the success and wellbeing of the other person. You may or may not be a "good" person, but that doesn’t matter. It is not about you, and shouldn’t be about you.
An amazing quote I believe anyone should learn is, "listening is not waiting for your turn to speak." Next time you offer support to someone you care about, think about your motivations. Are you looking to validate an aspect of yourself? Or are you truly wanting to simply be there for them and encourage them?
Kindness, humility and support are all fantastic character traits to have. Unfortunately, when they are clouded with selfish motives they lose their authenticity. It is very possible to be a kind person and struggle with ulterior motives, the main thing is to check in with yourself.
If you want to develop those traits, practice being truly PRESENT. You are not putting on a show for anyone, you do not have anything you want in return. You are engaged, with the purpose of bettering the lives of those around you, but also not at your own expense. Remember those all important boundaries, and from there you are able to give to others when the time is right.