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Author Topic: Is Kindness Required?  (Read 3554 times)
Rocquelaire
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« Topic Start: January 13, 2011, 02:07:56 pm »

Hi all,

I've been thinking a bit about kindness lately and I wondered how you all feel about it. Does your path require you to be kind? Do your deities? And what's the difference between being kind and being a doormat?

My sister and I have both experienced being kind to others to the extent that we are taken advantage of. I still do my best to be kind as my path does require it but I've also learned that it's ok to have boundaries and that I need to take care of myself to be able to take care of others. Unfortunately my sister still gives so much to others that she's often exhausted to the point of being ill.

I'm very interested in all of your thoughts on the subject

In love and light,
Rocquelaire
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Sammi (Dreamsinger)
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« Reply #1: January 13, 2011, 02:26:18 pm »

Hi all,

I've been thinking a bit about kindness lately and I wondered how you all feel about it. Does your path require you to be kind? Do your deities? And what's the difference between being kind and being a doormat?

My path requires me to find a moral code that fits me and that makes me happy. I can't speak for Sirona, my deity, because I haven't spoken with her enough yet.

I have quite a few thoughts on this subject because it's something I've been struggling with. I'll start with a little background.

I was brought up to believe that thinking of myself at all was selfishness and that putting others before myself in every way, shape, and form and especially to the detriment of myself was an admirable quality and something I should do always. I was unhappy. I've ended up with several mental disorders including Anxiety, Major Depression, and ADD, although I can't tell you how much of that is biological and how much is situational. I can tell you, however, that my Anxiety and Depression significantly decrease every time I learn to set new boundaries with myself.

Boundaries are incredibly important. If you don't take care of yourself, how are you supposed to help others? Also, you have to live with you for the rest of your life. Take care of yourself and be good to yourself otherwise, you make your life a living hell. Kudos to you if you understand that last paragraph. =]

Other people are much happier when you set boundaries, too. Do you think it would feel good to manipulate someone and use them until they're completely spent? Unless someone's completely conscienceless, somewhere inside of them, they're going to feel bad about themselves for using you.

I commend you for finding boundaries. It took me too long to find them, and then even longer to begin implementing them in my life. I encourage you to figure out where you end and someone else begins when you're in a situation where you're uncomfortable or feeling emotionally worn out.

As for your sister, I'd say that's another boundary issue. Your sister is living her own life. You can tell her about boundaries and suggest she use them, but there's nothing you can do about it after that.

If you ever want to talk or need encouragement, feel free to pm me or email me or whatever. Smiley

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« Reply #2: January 13, 2011, 02:28:46 pm »

Hi all,

I've been thinking a bit about kindness lately and I wondered how you all feel about it. Does your path require you to be kind? Do your deities? And what's the difference between being kind and being a doormat?

My sister and I have both experienced being kind to others to the extent that we are taken advantage of. I still do my best to be kind as my path does require it but I've also learned that it's ok to have boundaries and that I need to take care of myself to be able to take care of others. Unfortunately my sister still gives so much to others that she's often exhausted to the point of being ill.

I'm very interested in all of your thoughts on the subject

In love and light,
Rocquelaire

My path requires understanding one simple truth: In nature, there is no good and evil, only consequences.  So long as I learn to live with the consequences of my actions, and choose actions that bring about desired consequences, nothing else matters.  Sometimes kindness brings about desired consequences, and sometimes - as in the case of getting walked all over - kindness does not bring about desirable consequences.
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« Reply #3: January 13, 2011, 04:51:49 pm »

Hi all,

I've been thinking a bit about kindness lately and I wondered how you all feel about it. Does your path require you to be kind? Do your deities? And what's the difference between being kind and being a doormat?

I have learned- mainly through some experience in the mental health field- that creating firm, healthy boundaries can very much be a kindness to yourself and to others.  Some people might not appreciate those boundaries, but being kind is different from being a doormat.  Smiley 

My religion doesn't require kindness specifically, but other values can be interpreted as much the same thing.  Being a "good" Canaanite pagan pretty much means that you act in ways that facilitate positive relationships with those around you.  You support your community.  You help your family and honor your ancestors.  You respect your gods and worship them.  That way communities function well, families care for each other, and the gods aren't tempted to smite you.   Grin  My overall philosophy on this can be summed up as such: Don't be an asshole. 

I understand how difficult it is though to stop being nice all the time and allowing people to take advantage of you.  Society raises girls up to believe that we should be nice at all times, which is ridiculous at best and potentially dangerous at worst. 
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« Reply #4: January 13, 2011, 10:24:37 pm »

Does your path require you to be kind?

Beauty is the chief way I relate to the divine, and kindness beautifies behaviour. So...kinda.

Quote
And what's the difference between being kind and being a doormat?

I found it difficult to answer this because I've never thought of being kind as related to being a doormat. Two reasons: firstly, I see kindness as more related to courtesy, graciousness, empathy and patience rather than the more 'demanding' virtues which require you to go further out of your way. And secondly, although kindness is for me partly an end in itself, overall it's more of a means. It doesn't necessarily set my goals and boundaries, but it tells me how I should act within those bounds and how I should pursue my goals.

Quote
I still do my best to be kind as my path does require it but I've also learned that it's ok to have boundaries and that I need to take care of myself to be able to take care of others.

IMHO it's sensible, and still virtuous, to make sure virtuous conduct is sustainable by taking care of yourself. Taking care of yourself isn't the same as only looking out for yourself.
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« Reply #5: January 13, 2011, 11:40:38 pm »

I've been thinking a bit about kindness lately and I wondered how you all feel about it. Does your path require you to be kind?
In a kind of way, yes. On my path, it's called living your life in the ways of ma'at. Think of it as a kind of Ten Commandments, but with an older bend and there's more like 42 of them.

Do your deities?
Sure, my gods want me to be nice and kind to others. They wouldn't mind if I donated more things to the people that need it. They'd like to see me put the grocery carts in their slots when I'm done (this is a reference to Darkhawk's article about how she lives her life in ma'at: I would post a link to it but I can't seem to find out where the heck I put it--erg). They want me to live a spiritually fulfilled life, which does include giving unto others.

And what's the difference between being kind and being a doormat?
My gods and my faith both decree to be kind and giving, however, they also say that I should stand up for myself. If I think I'm being taken advantage of, then by golly, I'm speaking up. I'm all for giving and being extravagant and helping a friend in need, but I'm not going to let that friend use me. I'm not going to break my bank because someone is demanding a Swarovski crystal something-or-other for Christmas. I'm not going to go over-the-top with my giving and if someone just demands, demands, demands... well, then, they can just go ahead and demand to the empty space that I once occupied.
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« Reply #6: January 14, 2011, 06:32:40 am »

Hi all,

I've been thinking a bit about kindness lately and I wondered how you all feel about it. Does your path require you to be kind? Do your deities? And what's the difference between being kind and being a doormat?

My sister and I have both experienced being kind to others to the extent that we are taken advantage of. I still do my best to be kind as my path does require it but I've also learned that it's ok to have boundaries and that I need to take care of myself to be able to take care of others. Unfortunately my sister still gives so much to others that she's often exhausted to the point of being ill.

I'm very interested in all of your thoughts on the subject

In love and light,
Rocquelaire

man, I REALLY wish my blog wasn't broken, I've talked about this a ton of times there!  Lemme try to condense.

In Flamekeeping, the rule is that we take care of ourselves first - if only because if we do not, no one will.  If the idea is to do as much good as we can in our lives, we MUST take care of ourselves and replenish our own inner strength, or we give to the point of self-destruction.  And worse, much of what we give wasn't even necessary when we did it.

We need boundaries.  We need to know what is and isn't acceptable, and we need to be able to say no sometimes.  Most people ASSUME that if they ask, "No" is a possible answer.  Most people don't WANT to take advantage of you.  But if you cannot say no, they don't realize that they're overstepping - because you do not have a boundary there.

I have to take care of myself so I can take care of my family.  I have to take care of myself so I can take care of my religious responsibilities.  I have to take care of myself because it would HURT far too many people if I did not.

Do we need to reach out and help each other as well?  Absolutely.  But that doesn't mean turning ourselves into doormats.  That serves no one but the people that like to walk on others - and really, what those people NEED is someone to get in their face and refuse to be stepped on anymore ANYWAY.
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« Reply #7: January 19, 2011, 12:29:42 am »

Hi all,

I've been thinking a bit about kindness lately and I wondered how you all feel about it. Does your path require you to be kind? Do your deities? And what's the difference between being kind and being a doormat?


I'm very interested in all of your thoughts on the subject

In love and light,
Rocquelaire

It isn't kindness if it makes you feel exhausted and ill. It is called being manipulated.

It takes time to retool and train people to stop taking advantege of your gentler nature.. I find saying NO in a clear and loud voice eventually gets the point across. ( Expect, whining, badgering and insults for about a week after setting new healthier boundaries.)

Kindness should give you a lifted feeling.

If you feel depressed even before you do your kind act then it isn't kindness that is being asked for, it's how Narcissists fish for victims.

If you notice that the so called friend who expects you to be kind never returns the favor, you are being a chump.

If you have a pile of favors and kindnesses that you have delivered and the friendship account is empty with others it is time to make new friends.

Don't define your self worth by how useful you are to others. Know that you are beautiful, perfect, lovable just for being you. You don't need to excuse your existence. You deserve love and acceptance by virtue of choosing to be born.
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« Reply #8: January 19, 2011, 05:58:58 am »

It takes time to retool and train people to stop taking advantege of your gentler nature.. I find saying NO in a clear and loud voice eventually gets the point across. ( Expect, whining, badgering and insults for about a week after setting new healthier boundaries.)

I find, actually, that most people are pretty reasonable and will understand when you say, "I'm sorry, but I can't help right now."

Of course, there are also times when they're not asking, so you don't have to say no.  Kindness is more than just responding to requests, after all.

Quote
Kindness should give you a lifted feeling.

In an ideal world, yes.  It doesn't always; sometimes people don't show any appreciation for kindness, or kindness means doing something that you don't like to do, or something like that.  That doesn't make it not kindness, though.  Kindness, IMO, is about doing nice things for people.  Your own eagerness for your task, or lack thereof, doesn't come into the definition.  Neither does their response.  Kindness is kindness; the question, for me, is more where you have to draw the line and decide that you've been kind enough to other people and must now be kind to yourself.
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« Reply #9: January 19, 2011, 12:23:10 pm »

In a kind of way, yes. On my path, it's called living your life in the ways of ma'at. Think of it as a kind of Ten Commandments, but with an older bend and there's more like 42 of them.
Sure, my gods want me to be nice and kind to others. They wouldn't mind if I donated more things to the people that need it. They'd like to see me put the grocery carts in their slots when I'm done (this is a reference to Darkhawk's article about how she lives her life in ma'at: I would post a link to it but I can't seem to find out where the heck I put it--erg). They want me to live a spiritually fulfilled life, which does include giving unto others.

Sekhemib-Nymaatre put this better than I could, so I'll just add the link to the Shopping Cart essay

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« Reply #10: January 19, 2011, 12:25:04 pm »

man, I REALLY wish my blog wasn't broken, I've talked about this a ton of times there!  Lemme try to condense.

In Flamekeeping, the rule is that we take care of ourselves first - if only because if we do not, no one will.  If the idea is to do as much good as we can in our lives, we MUST take care of ourselves and replenish our own inner strength, or we give to the point of self-destruction.  And worse, much of what we give wasn't even necessary when we did it.

We need boundaries.  We need to know what is and isn't acceptable, and we need to be able to say no sometimes.  Most people ASSUME that if they ask, "No" is a possible answer.  Most people don't WANT to take advantage of you.  But if you cannot say no, they don't realize that they're overstepping - because you do not have a boundary there.

I have to take care of myself so I can take care of my family.  I have to take care of myself so I can take care of my religious responsibilities.  I have to take care of myself because it would HURT far too many people if I did not.

Do we need to reach out and help each other as well?  Absolutely.  But that doesn't mean turning ourselves into doormats.  That serves no one but the people that like to walk on others - and really, what those people NEED is someone to get in their face and refuse to be stepped on anymore ANYWAY.

And, yes again.  To be kind to others and preserve community we first need to take care of ourselves.
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« Reply #11: January 25, 2011, 09:56:22 am »

Hi all,

I used to be quite the doormat myself. I then met a friend to taught me to think more about myself. I'm still considered the most friendly and nice person among my friends, but I found that there are more ways than one to help others.
My main belief is that it's better for others to learn for themself, and that I can only guide them to the edge, but they must fly themselves. Think of it like this: which is better; letting your friend copy your homework, or helping each other do it?
You also need to judge if they can do it themselves easily or if they genually require your help. The more they depend on you to do trivial things for them, the less they grow and get stronger themselves. It takes a bit to be able to judge what you should help them with and how much you should help them, but it will be much better in the long run.

I'm generally someone who rarely ask for help, as I like to think I can handle it better myself. That means I often help my friends more than they help me. Some people need a greater push to fly.

I hope your sister will get better and set boundries for herself. 
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