Ok. You might be looking at the title and why I am highlighting something that should be obvious – we need to be kind to one another. And you would have a point. It should be obvious but you might be surprised to learn that so many partners have actually lost sight of just how important kindness is. Here’s why.
We’ve talked about several of the core foundations of love and intimacy, that I have outlined in this series: vulnerability, trust, courage, and self-awareness. These are certainly the cornerstones of a fulfilling relationship because they form the basis upon which we can expand our ability to experience the many benefits of being in a loving relationship.
And yet, it just seems that it is not so obvious for far too many couples who ultimately drift apart because they have stopped being kind to each other.
The remedy would seem to be easy. Just be kind.
You’d think this was a no-brainer and yet, time and again, I see how challenging this simple concept is for too many people – in and outside of my practice.
There are a number of factors that contribute to this dilemma and more than an equal number of ways to build a foundation of love and intimacy by treating your partner with more thoughtfulness.
What is kindness?
Kindness is both the ability and the desire to take care of, nurture, to be considerate, generous, gentle, compassionate, tender, understanding, respectful, courteous, accepting, empathetic, affectionate – emotionally and physically, and comforting a loved one in their time of need.
These are the qualities of kindness. Each of us, hopefully, has found ways to speak kindly and to perform acts of kindness for the ones we love. Being kind is also its own great reward. How beautiful is it to both receive and express kindness?
Why do we need to be kind?
No matter how happy any one of us feels, there are going to be those times when we need a little kindness.
The plain truth is this: Who doesn’t want to be treated kindly even if they aren’t suffering?
Who doesn’t want to feel a kind touch, a word of praise, a thoughtful act, a loving ear to listen to us, the gift of someone’s time, and all those expressions of loving endearment that tell us we are valued. It’s important to hear that we have meaning. That we are worth caring about in word and deed.
Without routinely being kind to our loved ones – and I mean on a daily basis – we can begin to leave the impression in them that we just don’t care about them enough to give them the time of day, much less be compassionate and loving. Maybe they are hurting or feeling ashamed, embarrassed, scared or unworthy of love. It is in those moments, in particular, that a loved one needs loving kindness more than ever.
In essence, kindness is one of the most powerful and strongest foundations of love and intimacy. Sometimes a simple touch or word of comfort can be just enough to help someone begin to get through a rough situation.
Simple expressions of love can go a long way in letting our loved ones know that they are seen, appreciated, and cherished. Being kind reinforces that they are so very much loved.
What are some ways that we can express kindness?
There are a limitless number of ways that we can be express kindness. Here are some tips that almost everyone I have worked with have found helpful:
- Ask your partner if there is anything you can do for them.
- Go up to your partner, cradle their face in your hands, and tell them just how much you love them.
- Help out with the dishes…especially if they have done the cooking!
- Offer to go run a couple of errands if they are having a particularly hectic day.
- Sweep them up in our arms, twirl them around,
- Engage in pillow talk.
- Ask them for three things that would make them feel good right now.
- Go to an activity that they like.
- Buy them a gift certificate to their favorite place to shop.
- Write them a love letter.
- Write them a little note to start their day when they wake up.
- Make them their favorite cup of coffee or tea.
- Buy them flowers out of the blue, without it being a special holiday.
- Massage their feet with a nice aromatic oil that they like.
- If you know they are having a rough time, sit down and devote your time exclusively to them and encourage them to talk about it.
- Ask your partner what their most important wishes, hopes, dreams, and desires are.
- Create a safe environment for them to talk about what is bothering them.
- Tell them the truth about something that they need and would want to hear.
- Buy them a small gift just because…
- Open the car door for them, no matter your or their gender.
- If they’re having a bad day and are feeling grouchy, give them the benefit of the doubt.
- Call them during the day and let them know you are thinking of them and you can’t wait to get home.
- Send them a loving text during the day.
- Decide that you are not going to complain about anything in their presence today.
- Say “Good morning” when you first seem them.
- Listen with all your heart so they know you really do care.
- Go the extra mile for them today, no matter how stressed and tired you may feel.
- Be the first to try and make up if you’ve had an argument.
- Fix something for them that you know they need to have done.
- Encourage them to pursue a goal that you know is important to them.
Simple acts and words of kindness can go a very long way to enhancing a true and deep love and real intimacy. Whenever we express kindness, we are sending our loved one the message that they are important, that their needs are important, and that we want to be source of love, respect, and nurturance that they can count on.
Kindness is incredibly powerful when put into action. If both of you set your intention to say or day at least one kind thing every day, you will likely notice a very nice shift in your relationship.
There are very specific ways of thinking and behaving that couples need to learn in order to both express love and receive love. Knowing these tools is absolutely foundational to enjoying happy and healthy relationships. This article is the sixth in my new six-part series: The Core Foundations of Real Love and True Intimacy. You can find other posts here:
I hope that you have found this article helpful. Saying and performing acts of kindness can truly be transformative for your relationship. If this is an area you would like to explore more, feel free to contact me for a free 15-minute phone consultation to help you explore more about this in your life, and to see if I am a good fit for what you need. I am more than happy to help you in any way I can.