The Kindometer in Action! How to Always Practice Kindness (with 3 Step Process)

Angry person waving hands at your face

Recently at a special birthday party gathering, I stood up for a child who was publicly called a MORon by an adult. This wasn’t a joke and it was said loudly, with contempt.

As the situation unfolded, I used the Kindometer to anchor and carry me through. In fact, whenever I notice I’m upset, triggered, tired or stressed in some way, I use the Kindometer in a 3 Step process.

Below I share what happened and how I used the Kindometer. But first here’s the AWW process I follow to practice kindness – always. Of course this process takes practice, but it’s great to begin a habit around.

A 3 Step Process to Always Be Kind

Step 1) A – ACKNOWLEDGE Kindness is needed

This 3 step process starts with simply noticing something is going on. Simply pause – and recognize – that someone or something requires a kind response. We may need to stop and say to ourself, “I see something is happening here”.

Step 2) W – WHO needs Kindness?

Next, who needs the kindness?

This always starts with ourselves (we ‘put the oxygen mask on ourselves’ first so we’re in the best position to help others).

Then consider who else needs kindness? Your community? What about the planet or our environment? Remember that it could be any or all of these.

The KindometerStep 3) W – WHAT LEVEL of Kindness is needed?

Lastly, remember the Kindometer and choose the level of kindness needed.

Here are some examples:

  • Level 1) Kindness will likely be enough for a small, relatively unimportant situation.
  • Level 2) Fierce Kindness may be needed if your values are involved, if commitments have been made, if something is important to you or someone is repeatedly crossing your boundaries.
  • You may need to step up to Level 3) Kind Fierceness if there is bullying – towards yourself or others. Also for minor threats or when someone is disregarding your safety.
  • Lastly, you will reach for Level 4) Fierceness if there is a tangible threat. Your instincts will kick in and this will take the form of fight, flight, freezing (or fawning) to survive.

Optional Step 4) LEARN & GROW

This step is discretionary and is helpful for bigger and repeating situations. It’s about reflecting, learning – and following up with ourselves or others if needed. 

Once the situation is over, you can ponder or journal around questions like:

  • What did you do well?
  • What did you learn?
  • Are any follow up actions needed? Who should I follow up with and how?
  • What could you/will you do differently next time? And how will you remember?

Let’s continue with the story…

So, once upon a time there was a child who was called a name and publicly shamed at a party by an adult in a position of power.

The name-caller (let’s call them Mark) can be quite intimidating, so people at the party ‘turned a blind eye’.

This made me very uncomfortable. So I took a deep breath, and calmly said to Mark that I wasn’t comfortable with calling people names.

Yay. Fierce Kindness in action!

But…

I was sitting in between Mark and the birthday “girl” (let’s call them Susan).

So when Mark, eyes bulging, stares intensely at me and says: “Do-you-want-to-make-something-of-this? Is-that-what-you-want? You-want-to-do-this-NOW?”, I was literally in a very awkward position!

I tried to speak, but Mark talked loudly over the top of me: “So-you-REALLY-want-to-do-this? Now? Really? Is-THAT-what-you-want?”

Beyond livid, Mark’s body language was saying, “D’you-want-a-fight? ‘Cos-if-you-want-one, Come-get-it, Just-try-it, GO-ON, Try-me!”

Again, I tried to say something, but Mark talked over me before I got a word out! I paused and waited for him to finish and tried to speak one last time.

Nope! He aggressively talked over me again.

Now I dislike bullies. And part of me was just itching to have it out with them verbally…

But Susan is on my left and it’s her special birthday. And of course, the entire party is now watching and wondering what will happen next.

And then I remembered the Kindometer…

Step 1) ACKNOWLEDGE Kindness is needed.

Sometimes we need to stop and really notice that we’re upset, or stressed or tired – and then we can see that kindness is needed.

In this case, the situation was right in my face! I needed to recognize that Kindness was the answer – and not allow anger or fear to overtake me!

Step 2) WHO needs Kindness?

(Remember we always start with ourself).

Well, apart from feeling self-conscious at being the centre of a “scene”, I was actually doing OK.

Then there was Susan: I didn’t want to spoil her special party so she needed some kindness and consideration.

Next there was Mark. He was almost purple with rage and barely containing himself (afterwards my husband said he looked like he was going to have a heart attack!). Mark certainly wasn’t capable of being his best self. I had clearly triggered him – and he definitely needed kindness (but of a stronger type!).

And lastly there was the child who had been insulted. He might need some kindness too.

Step 3) What LEVEL of Kindness is needed?

Once I realised I was (surprisingly) OK, Mark was my most immediate consideration.Level 3) Kindly Fierce on the Kindometer

For Mark, Level 3) Kindly Fierce was clearly needed. He was right in my face and being verbally aggressive. He was not thinking straight. I wasn’t being allowed to speak – even to diffuse the situation. Kind Fierceness meant staying calm, maintaining eye contact and not escalating things.

In particular, it was important to me (in situations like this we’re role models for everyone present!) not to back down. If I had that suggests what happened was OK… So I made it clear I wasn’t afraid by looking directly at Mark and not moving away. But. I wasn’t going to escalate the situation either – as that would be unkind to Susan – and even Mark himself.

So why not use Level 2) Fierce Kindness?

Well, there was an element of risk – and self-assertion that went beyond simply stating our boundaries or pushing through discomfort. I felt this needed a step beyond Fierce Kindness. I had to be fierce to steel myself, maintain eye contact and not shrink. Plus for my own self-esteem I wanted Mark to know I would not be intimidated.

And…

Interestingly, I also had to be Level 3) Kindly Fierce to calm the part of me that wanted to escalate the situation by responding! This was the kind thing to do for 1) Susan, 2) the child who was already embarrassed enough, and 3) Mark – who was on the verge of exploding!

Eventually after a very uncomfortable (what felt like minutes, but was probably 30 seconds or so) Mark broke eye contact, and the situation was over.

OPTIONAL Step 4) Learn, Grow & Follow-up

After a suitable pause, I spoke to the child and asked if he was OK (he was) and if he was OK with me speaking up for him (he was).

I told him that it was not OK to call someone names, especially when there’s a power imbalance, and that it’s called bullying (he said he was used to it). I said he shouldn’t have to be used to it and let him know that it was Mark’s issue and not his. And I also said he could talk to me any time.

Lastly, I let him know why I hadn’t continued the conversation with Mark, so he understood that it was a choice not to escalate the situation. I hoped he was OK with that (he was).

Of course in retrospect all this seems easy, which of course it wasn’t!

But the visual of the Kindometer anchored me: Don’t go to Level 4) Pure Fierce! Stay connected to yourself. Be Kind. Follow the steps.

Wrap-upFierce Kindness Logo

Being kind – no matter what – is one way to make the world a better place, raising the level of consciousness, energy and love on the planet. But it’s a path we must consciously choose, because it takes Fierce Kindness to do the right – and kind – thing, when all around us other people are not.

The Kindometer is a tool that helps us always be kind. It helps us consider what level of kindness is needed, and for whom?

Remember the AWW Process:

  1. A – ACKNOWLEDGE kindness is needed.
  2. W – WHO needs kindness?
  3. W – WHAT LEVEL of kindness to use?

Even though each situation is unique, this 3 step process works because it flexes.

So. I hope you’ll use the Kindometer to help you practice Fierce Kindness towards yourself, others and/or the planet. And I hope you also feel thrilled and enlivened – because you are now part of the solution!

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Image of Angry Man by krakenimages via Kraken Images

8 Comments

  1. Kitty Koniali

    Yes, being kind, backing away, trying to see the bigger picture, trying to put yourself in the other person’s shoes is the way to peace: “Being kind – no matter what – is one way to make the world a better place, raising the level of consciousness, energy and love on the planet.”

    Reply
  2. Lidia Pretorius

    I absolutely love your Kindometer, and thank you for the example of application.
    Sooooo needed this about 30min ago … but thanks to the initial blogs, I will give myself about 70% of practicising kindness to myself and the other person. 🙂

    Reply
    • Emma-Louise Elsey

      Hi Lidia,
      Too funny! Well, as mentioned it’s a practice, and I give you 100% for effort 🙂
      Love Emma-Louise x

      Reply
  3. Ruby McGuire

    I absolutely LOVE the Kindometer. Thank you for sharing a great example of how it works in practice. All of your posts are fabulous and so refreshingly different!

    Reply
    • Emma-Louise Elsey

      Dear Ruby, so lovely to hear from you. And thank-you!!! Em xxx

      Reply
    • Emma-Louise Elsey

      Hi Abz, so glad you find this helpful!!! Warmly, Emma x

      Reply

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