The more you know

The importance of kindness

Be kind, even to those who don’t deserve it. You gain health. And then it’s really simple, just a few words and a few gestures

Discover the pleasures of kindness. Being polite and kind is good for the body and head. Improve mood, strengthen human relationships, and extend couple life. So why do we waste kindness with so many angry or rude behaviors?


Never as at this time do we need everyone, absolutely everyone, to rediscover and cultivate what Marcus Aurelius, a Roman philosopher and emperor, called “the joy of humanity”: kindness. Yes, because if it is true that his many opposites, from rudeness to insolence, from arrogance to various forms and shades of violence, poison life, it is certain that kindness rounds it up, improves it, and makes it sweeter for everyone. Thus avoiding a great waste of human relationships before community, social.
We need kindness, like an antibiotic, to cure evil at risk of spreading a grudge that is spreading in our daily lives. Between neighbors, as between people who share a road with different means of locomotion; between citizens who can and must have different opinions but are not forced to insult each other and hate each other; between those who made it and those who trudge. Between single men and single women who have lost not only etiquette, but the ethos of kindness. That light but very powerful force that makes the difference in our relationships, including the most intimate ones, in family, among friends, with the people we say we love.


Goethe said the strongest and truest thing about kindness many years ago, with a phrase that we should all carve in our heads: It is a chain that holds men together. Kindness seems only a gesture of etiquette, of good manners, of people of the world: but this is an understatement. Kindness is an essential ingredient to keep people together, at any level, not to waste the patrimony of human relationships that we possess, to live better with ourselves and with others.

Have you ever really thought about the power of kindness? On how many things can change for the better in our lives and in those of those around us. It takes very little to fully grasp a series of benefits, ranging from the quality of relationships to physical well-being. Benefits that we often waste only for wrong lifestyles, where kindness is eclipsed.

An example? In the long run, strong and rough manners complicate couple’s life and make it unsustainable. On the contrary, as the research of American psychologists John Gottman and Robert Levenson also shows, small daily gestures, inspired precisely by good manners, strengthen ties, make tensions fade, make those who receive them happy. In a word: they transmit love.


It is a keyword that is coming back into fashion: kindness. Movies, new books and even courses for all ages. Gentleness is turning into a winning weapon to seduce and convince others, where we have become accustomed to the increasingly frequent use of force, prevaricating violence and swearing.

The Praise of Kindness by Adam Philips and Barbara Taylor has been reprinted (Ponte delle Grazie editions) and The pleasure of kindness has been very successful. Small treatise on good education in the ice age by Bertrand Buffon (Ediciclo editions), which offers some very practical and useful indications.

Meanwhile, courses are also multiplying to teach kindness and its advantages. The Italian Gentletude Association organizes courses run by volunteers that explain why kindness, especially in times of the Great Crisis, is convenient, helps to make a career, is a deterrent to dismantle aggression and arouses authenticity and empathy.


And again: kindness improves mood, empathy, human relationships, and even health. When you drink coffee at the bar or when you go out of a shop for a commission, remember to always say the magic word: Thanks. And to answer Please, if someone in turn thanks you. My mother told me that as a girl in her school one of the subjects on which the attention of the teachers was concentrated was called Good manners. That is, the ability to be kind: at home, with friends, at work. A capacity that we have lost, lost.

Think how many times you happen in the course of a day, perhaps more tense than usual, not to be kind, to have a rude attitude. From the family to the condominium, from the road to the means of transport, a real anthropological drift has been consumed in the daily life of Italians, of which the eclipse of kindness is perhaps the most obvious and easiest to measure spy. We have become a population of peasants. For example, ask yourself how much time passes from the moment when the green lights to a traffic light and the knock of the horn of those behind you: fractions of a second. Get on a high-speed train, crowded with decent people according to the status of the wallet and the cost of the ticket, close your eyes, and listen to the noise in the background: the scream of conversations with mobile phones, and who cares about the conductor who, also screaming he asks to lower the ringtone of mobile phones.


In a few years in our homes, according to a research by the Gentietude association that promotes a lifestyle based on good manners, the words Thanks, Please, Can I? Have been removed in almost half of Italian families. Delete. To put them back on the field, Pope Francis had to think that with his direct language he invoked, not only for Christians, the use of three words to give longevity to married life. Thanks, Permission and Sorry. Three words that we are no longer used to pronouncing, when we ask for information on the street, when we push someone in a hurry to reach a place (but where do we run every moment of our existence?), When we interrupt those who are trying to talk to each other, to communicate beyond the wall of autism of our self-referential and self-centered thoughts.

The anthropological drift that has extinguished kindness has certainly been accelerated by some phenomena, all concentrated in time and effects. There is the weight of an abundant economic crisis now in the fifth year, with all the uncertainties about the future and with a people that has accumulated, like those batteries that feed on themselves, anger mixed with indignation, social envy mixed with resentment. It is therefore the end of kindness, also as a feeling that binds a community, which holds it together where the conflict of interests and roles is natural by definition.


Then we are paying the bill for a progressive loss of meaning, understood as a sense of words and a civic sense. The foul language is on the agenda, in the agorà of the public debate of the national ruling class, or the TV talk shows. Ministers, leaders of famous and influential companies and makeshift leaders in the role of party leaders, fashionable intellectuals, icons of the show and of the pink news are insulted, without a modicum They talk as if they were at the bar when someone raised their elbows, or as the taxi driver unleashed against everyone: yet they, the tour company in Italy in command seen through the remote control, are the first line of the country’s ruling class.


With television, and more than television, the web takes care of sowing the new language of daily insult. Facebook also serves this purpose: to vent, perhaps anonymously, the instinct of anger against and not for someone, even those who until yesterday were your idol. As for the loss of civic sense, which the Italians have always cultivated in low doses, we have made a jump backwards, in a vacuum, since 1958 when Aldo Moro decided to introduce civic education as a compulsory subject in middle and high schools, anchored not to case of teaching history.

In the wake of reforms, counter-reforms and experiments, such as the abstract idea of ​​introducing courses entitled Citizenship and Constitution, in the end a result was obtained: in fact in schools no one teaches children civic education, that is, the kindness of coexistence, the importance of courtesy for the quality of human and social relationships. With your desk neighbor today, with your workmate or with your condominium tomorrow.

You Might Also Like...

1 Comment

    Leave a Reply