Is kindness a sign of weakness?

Alice-Bee

Mad as A Hatter
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Reaction score
2,294
Age
38
Location
Durham UK
Ok. Im not good with explaining my thought patterns, but Ive been wondering lately whether my kind nature makes me weak, a pushover and doormat.

Say for example that you show kindness towards a person, they do something to upset you, be it harsh words or something such as stealing money. Then that person has a bad time, maybe a family member becomes ill, they loose their job or their partner leaves/cheats and they need support, Is it weak to overlook what they did to you and offer kindness? Do they deserve it, or are you devaluing your morals to be kind? Are you taking the high road and by not being spiteful( two wrongs and all that).

Another, possibly more relatable experience, how about simply being used? If someone takes their bad mood out on you, puts you down or basically only comes to you when they have a problem/when they need something, yet you still offer help, kindness and support are you saying you are less important or are you simply being a good person. Kindness is it own reward...or is it?
 

K-II

Forum Legend
Joined
Jun 27, 2012
Reaction score
79
It is if you're only doing it because you're afraid to do what you really want to. I'm not sure if that qualifies as actual kindness though.
 
OP
OP
Alice-Bee

Alice-Bee

Mad as A Hatter
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Reaction score
2,294
Age
38
Location
Durham UK
Perhaps the reason behind kindness is not as important as the kindness itself.

Example-It does not matter why someone becomes vegetarian/vegan the outcome still results in less animal suffering.
 

AeryFairy

Anachronism
Joined
Jun 8, 2012
Reaction score
3,607
Location
Manchester, UK
What if the person goes vegetarian or vegan in order to, say, further their political career or pull hot veg*ns? I'd consider that quite important, although I'm glad for every meat-free meal that gets eaten.

I don't think kindness is a sign of weakness. I also don't think it should necessarily come with conditions, although it depends on exactly what the kindness entails. I wouldn't go above and beyond for someone who is consistently awful to me, but I would still try to be kind and understanding if they had a problem. Kindness and friendship are two different things. The former is something I try and show to everyone without discrimination, but if someone stole from me, took advantage of me, was frequently mean, or anything similar, they would definitely not have my friendship.
 
OP
OP
Alice-Bee

Alice-Bee

Mad as A Hatter
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Reaction score
2,294
Age
38
Location
Durham UK
Well yes, but the point was less animals getting killed is a good thing, I think Id be ok with a politician giving up meat to get a few votes. Anyway thats not the point at debate.

I dont like to think id be overly kind to a fairweather friend, but I think the nature of myself would have me running back. Personally I cant see someone in distress. I put others before myself. There was only once I lost it and stopped speaking to a friend because of their mean attitude, but in the end I let it go and had the 'its all in the past' thought about it. It was just easier that way.

What if the person who stole/took advantage/was mean was a family member...do the rules change for blood connection?
 

Lord Snot

Parsley Provider
Joined
May 7, 2012
Reaction score
1,917
Age
33
Location
South Hertfordshire
I have a really hard time forgiving people who hurt a loved one. I find it easier to forgive them being mean to me but, still, I do hold a grudge for (what I consider) serious offences. I'm fiercely loyal to the people I love. I don't think that's a sign of strength, at all, it's a sign of my stubbornness and black-and-white thinking. If someone does something bad then I have a hard time thinking of them as anything but a bad person.

Though no matter how much I hate some people, I couldn't refuse them if they came to me in real need. I'm like you, Alice - and I think most humans are - we can't watch people suffer without wanting to do something.

Kindness can be weakness if you don't want to be kind but you're too afraid to react how you really want to.
 
OP
OP
Alice-Bee

Alice-Bee

Mad as A Hatter
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Reaction score
2,294
Age
38
Location
Durham UK
Im sorry I use myself as an example but sometimes I find it easy to make a point with a story.

Putting aside your own feelings for someone is, in my opinion, a sign of great strength. Although some have called is weak in that you are saying your feelings are less important.
 

yakherder

老外
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Reaction score
1,018
Age
43
Location
Ottawa / Vermont
Kindness in and of itself does not display weakness. When the kindness is used to disguise one's fear of confrontation, however, it can be (but not always I suppose) more the result of fear than the desire to be kind, and that can be a weakness in certain situations. That's where the whole nice guys finish last thing comes from. They don't finish last because they're nice, they finish last because they're too intimidated to be aggressive when the situation calls for it.
 
M

Moll Flanders

Guest
I can be very harsh and cut off from someone if they abuse my trust or friendship. I think it depends on how much they hurt me and whether it was a relationship that could be rebuilt.
 

yakherder

老外
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Reaction score
1,018
Age
43
Location
Ottawa / Vermont
Let me expand on that with an example. I have a family member who is a stereotypical user. Can't keep a job, can't stay off alcohol/drugs etc., has no reservations with using family members to fulfill his needs. Yet every new "victim," so to speak, makes the same choice to attempt to help him, even though it should be obvious by now that he's going to not only continue on his own destructive path regardless of what help you try to give him, but bury everyone close to him in **** in the process.

Some of them might believe I am not kind for turning him away, but I recognize the difference between short sighted compassion and long term compassion. If I help him now, it will, based off what I've seen, be detrimental to both my own well being and that of my girlfriend and son whom I am also obligated to care for. For that reason, I have no problem turning him away. It's a lost cause, and I'd call the police and have him removed from my property before letting a misguided sense of short term compassion damage the life I've attempted to build for myself and those close to me.
 

Forster

3-7-77
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Reaction score
669
Location
Montana
Let me expand on that with an example. I have a family member who is a stereotypical user. Can't keep a job, can't stay off alcohol/drugs etc., has no reservations with using family members to fulfill his needs. Yet every new "victim," so to speak, makes the same choice to attempt to help him, even though it should be obvious by now that he's going to not only continue on his own destructive path regardless of what help you try to give him, but bury everyone close to him in **** in the process.

Some of them might believe I am not kind for turning him away, but I recognize the difference between short sighted compassion and long term compassion. If I help him now, it will, based off what I've seen, be detrimental to both my own well being and that of my girlfriend and son whom I am also obligated to care for. For that reason, I have no problem turning him away. It's a lost cause, and I'd call the police and have him removed from my property before letting a misguided sense of short term compassion damage the life I've attempted to build for myself and those close to me.

Yep, don't confuse kindness with enabling.
 

kazyeeqen

Superb Owl
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
Reaction score
2,793
Age
37
Location
Idaho, USA
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tit_for_tat

I don't exactly know what other people mean by 'kindness', but altruism was an evolutionary advantage, though possibly it doesn't exist and the things we do are just subtly self-serving...

On a more personal level, I would say it's a problem (I wouldn't say it's a weakness, because I don't know if I like defining traits as 'strengths' or 'weaknesses') if you want to stop being generous to someone who you think is taking advantage of you or who has been unkind to you in the past and you are unable to stop being generous even if you want to/think you should.

I would say it depends on the situation a lot of times though, and maliciousness is less forgivable than carelessness in my world.
 

Freesia

not my business.
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
Reaction score
7,611
Lifestyle
  1. Other
I dont see kindness as being a weakness but it is also not something you can do endlessly at the cost of yourself without burning out eventually.

Also some people view kindness as weakness or think you are being kind because you are out to gain something.

Mindless kindless is best as you dont have to deal with what anyone is thinking or how they react.
 

yakherder

老外
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Reaction score
1,018
Age
43
Location
Ottawa / Vermont
I don't exactly know what other people mean by 'kindness', but altruism was an evolutionary advantage, though possibly it doesn't exist and the things we do are just subtly self-serving...

I think this is an important point to understand if we want to be able to exhibit kindness in the modern world without it being detrimental to us.

Our not so distant ancestors had very different lives than we do. At a time when the global population was anywhere from a couple thousand to a couple million at most, we lived in small groups where being "nice" was a survival necessity. Resources were plentiful, but their location was not always predictable, and it took work to get to them. Ownership was pointless in a group that was constantly changing location, and being selfish would have been a good way to earn an exile and certain death.

Things are different now though. First with agriculture, and later with the utilization of metals and other materials that are, for the most part, always gathered from the same predictable locations, ownership of everything from property and tools and the ability to fight and protect what "belongs" to you is now the survival advantage that kindness 0nce was. Selfishness is still looked down upon in theory, but it isn't necessarily a survival disadvantage. Kindness has also taken an interesting position. It feels good to be kind (not a big surprise, considering the resulting release of endorphins that aided that initial survival necessity by giving us a little extra incentive to do nice things), it feels good when people are kind to us, we all wish we could live in a world where everyone was kind to each other, but if you want to exist in this new word sometimes you have to take a step back from instincts that are often, unfortunately, obsolete.

I personally believe in a good balance, and I can be excruciatingly kind or I can be cold, ruthless, and detached depending on what the situation calls for. I try to lean towards kind, and I usually do, but I've also got to survive. Sure, I could pretend that it's possible to be nice all the time all while hiding under the employment of a company or the ruling of a government that regularly exercises ruthlessness disguised as charity in order to secure it's needs while at the same time not looking like the "bad guy" so I don't have to. But I can also do it myself when necessary.
 

kazyeeqen

Superb Owl
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
Reaction score
2,793
Age
37
Location
Idaho, USA
^^^Yes. I don't think we should use 'it was an evolutionary advantage' as the only reason to do anything really, despite what I said in my last post. :think: Otherwise killing other peoples babies would seem like a pretty good idea. There is so much we can do with our reason that is better, overall, for everyone, that might be things we have to struggle with our instincts to achieve. But I guess... altruism, or kindness, is an instinct, so there's a reason it's there, whether or not it's applicable in our lives or in a specific situation...

:shrug:
 

kazyeeqen

Superb Owl
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
Reaction score
2,793
Age
37
Location
Idaho, USA
Oh yeah and I also believe in a good balance. The tit for tat lesson is one that I think is pretty good to dwell on in many situations. :)
 

Spang

Foot Fetisher
Joined
May 31, 2012
Reaction score
6,169
Age
43
My personal trainer shoots anabolic steroids into my butt; that way I can be kind without being weak. The 'Roid Rage' doesn't help with the kindness, though.
 

MrsSchu2u

Forum Legend
Joined
Jun 18, 2012
Reaction score
445
Location
Iowa
I'm a firm believer in the power of kindness, but being kind and being passive are very different. I also believe that being assertive and kind is the best combination for your own mental health.
 
  • Like
Reactions: KLS52
OP
OP
Alice-Bee

Alice-Bee

Mad as A Hatter
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Reaction score
2,294
Age
38
Location
Durham UK
For people that i will have regular contact with, I would keep being friendly and such even if they were not to me. Im not one for confrontation so its just easy to back down and be nice.
 
U

uno

Guest
depends on the kindness. in my job, too much kindness is enabling and entitling. and that's not a good thing.