Does Intention Matter?: A Guide to Genuine Kindness
Pamela Rodriguez | On 06, Feb 2019
As we reminisce on the preceding holiday season, many of us are putting to good use the presents we received from our loved ones, as well as silently gloating at the impressive ones we gave in return. There is no greater satisfaction than seeing the glimmer across someone’s face when they receive the gift you know they’ve been wanting. This, without a thought, would be considered an act of kindness, and after all, what’s nicer than giving someone the perfect gift? However, have we ever asked ourselves why we feel such self-gratification in instances like this? Do we actually feel genuine joy when doing something nice for someone, or is there a more selfish intent to our acts of kindness?
This is something that I’ve recently struggled with when going over the things I want to improve about myself, one of them being to be more kind. It’s a well-known fact to myself that I’m quick to judge and am not always honest with the way I feel. I want my character to reflect honesty and kindness as I feel that these two are crucial traits in a “good” person. This desire is one whose genuinity I can vouch for. My reasoning behind this isn’t to serve anyone else and I don’t plan on sharing the results with anyone. It’s simply a promise between me, myself, and I.
Let’s start at the root of the act: when you do something nice for someone, big or small, what do you feel? Is that feeling one of contentment because you possibly bettered someone’s day, or is it because you want to rack up on your good karma? If the answer is the latter, then maybe you may want to rethink why you’re doing the things you’re doing. Intention matters. If your acts of “kindness” have bad or selfish intentions behind them, then they don’t count as kind. The same way that doing something for “good karma” doesn’t actually mean that good energy will come your way.
One must do things from an honest place in one’s heart, not solely because this nice thing is what is expected of one. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should feel nothing at all when doing something nice, as it is those very acts that restore hope in people, but doing things to simply pat oneself in the back afterward takes away from the kind act to begin with.
To my surprise, being kind (and being honest about it) isn’t always the easiest thing in the world. Our intentions behind our actions can get crisscrossed and by the end of it, we’re unclear as to why we did them, to begin with. I believe that being kind encompasses selflessness in all its forms. You have to come to terms with the fact that your kindness may not always be reciprocated, even if it should. This realization stings at first and may serve as an unmotivating factor, as it was for me, but practice makes perfect and before you know it, genuine kindness will be seeping through your pores!