This is a good book for those people seeking to live an everyday, middle of the road, ordinary comfortable existence. Everyday Kindness: Shortcuts to a Happier and More Confident Life by Stephanie Dowrick, delivers what it claims in the title. As seen in the video Stephanie is a nice person, a clear speaker and writer who will appeal to a great majority of people. Her book gives basic good advice on how to live a pleasant life here on Earth. Reading this book and listening to Dowrick speak will calm everyone and help them to be nicer people.
I read this book in my effort to get a broader base for my understanding of the essence of kindness, and how to create the habits of kindness. My quest is somewhat different from most seekers, including Dowrick, in that it seeks the root cause of human suffering, to find and propose techniques for finding a way out of destructive habits and into ones which enhance all humanity. I seek ways of discovering and revealing habits that will enhance every individual forevermore and all of those people with whom each individual comes into contact. The habits sought are general ways of approaching every instant with an action which will enhance the energy of all humanity.
The goal is more than a pleasant life for the person involved; it is to create a fully realized life for every person from this moment forward. The way to achieve this isn’t by just being nice. Nice is a social behavior that doesn’t annoy other people; nice sets others at ease. Kind is quite different, in that it seeks to help the other person on their life journey by fulfilling some need. The need may be great or small, but the idea is to practice tiny deeds of kindness constantly. When the opportunity for larger acts of kindness appears, the person practicing kindness constantly will be instantly able to do what is necessary. This instant response requires a habit, and habits are established by intentionally creating them and then practicing them in various situations until they become automatic.
The habit of kindness can be learned intentionally, but the practicing of kindness will communicate automatically to other people, and they too will learn the habit of kindness. Being polite is a learned behavior; it is rather like being nice but in a more socially developed manner, and the more developed politeness is a behavior learned by copying the behavior of those with whom we come into contact. However, it can also be learned by careful study of proper behavior. Kindness is different in that it isn’t routine.
Kindness requires paying attention to the other person and seeing and feeling their needs and responding to them with a helpful action. Thus kindness requires compassion for the other person, but it goes further because it requires interpreting what that other person needs, and furthermore it requires instantly providing what is needed.
Kindness is more than love; it is compassion in the form of helpful actions.