A short narrative from a Narrative Workshop participant that nails this concept: Kindness is all about the ask...getting permission to act in a way YOU believe is kind and having it perceived as kind by the RECEIVER of your action. Allowing someone the opportunity to EITHER opt in to receive a kindness OR opt out/decline your intervention can make all the difference in being perceived as kind.
Heres's the story*:
"I was facilitating a discussion group. The conversation became intense and emotional as we were having the staff share appreciations for one another. The co-ordinator was sharing about the support she received from her manager when her grandmother died and started to choke up.
I went over to her and placed my hand on her shoulder to comfort and support her. As I knelt beside he she said to me as she turned to look at me:
'Don't touch me.'
I was startled and mortified. How could I have offended ? Later I realized I had done it for me...to assuage my discomfort."
*The Narrative Initiative has permission to share de-identified stories from author participants in our Narrative Workshops. More stories will be added as time goes by.
Keep calm and be kind.
Lorraine & Vivian