Kindfulness, the new mindfulness?

kindfulness sign on the ground

Kindfulness is a new term I recently came across. It basically describes the deliberate act of being kind, and it’s said to be the new mindfulness. In other words, just like how we’ve become accustomed to taking time out of our days to meditate or be in the present (or do other self-care activities) we’re now being asked to take the time to do stuff for others.

Opportunities for kindfulness

But do we really need to be asked? I would’ve thought that kindness is part and parcel of everyone’s day. Like letting someone go in front of you at the checkout when they have less shopping, or helping someone cross the road safely. There’s a myriad opportunities to be kind every day.

A fairly well-known movement is to tie scarves around trees in winter for the homeless. I didn’t really know about this one until this year, when I happened to walk past a bunch of trees out in Vauxhall that had the knitwear on. But it’s been around for a couple of years.

There’s no mindfulness without kindfulness

Some people argue that you can’t truly be mindful without being (you guessed it!) kindful. That truly taking care of yourself happens when you help others too.

Overall it’s a pretty nice thing to do. I do wonder why it takes a movement, a bunch of books, and a ton of influencers to get people to be kind, though. Our lives surely cannot be so busy that we forget to look out for one another?

Do we really have to talk about it?

I also feel a bit funny about publicising that kind of stuff. I was always brought up to do nice things for people but not to brag about it. There’s a memory from my childhood when I did something nice for my cousin, I think I gave her some food or something, and I kept on talking about how kind I was until my mum finally snapped and told me off for it. That’s stuck with me.

A big part of kindfulness appears to be talking about it. Which I do kind of understand. After all, if you’re trying to get others to be kind, the best way would be to either shame them into it or make them feel like they’re missing out.

Kindness vs kindfulness

But in that way, I feel we’re missing the whole point of being kind. Kindness itself isn’t about bragging rights or doing something to make yourself feel good. True kindness sometimes even deflects from yourself and doesn’t benefit you. If you do something at a cost to yourself, no matter how small, for someone else with no strings or expectations attached, that’s kindness.

That said, anything that makes the world a little bit better is ultimately a good thing. So if you need a movement or social media to tell you to be kind, then so be it. Whether it’s kindness or kindfulness, it’ll brighten someone’s day.

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