Educators Notes for the 12 Attributes

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Collaboration is essential in almost all aspects of life – in the playground; classroom; families and in every work environment! Collaboration is when a group of people come together and contribute their expertise for the benefit of a shared objective or project. Meaningful collaboration promotes the building of peer relationships, and enables people to understand different perspectives, and to give and receive feedback.

Successful collaboration and team work requires communication (verbal, nonverbal, and written); active listening; social awareness, turn-taking; problem solving; respect and cooperative spirit. Trust is also central to successful collaboration activities as peers take risks together. Online platforms provide people with opportunities to connect with peers locally and around the world extending types of collaboration and teamwork. The activities sourced and designed provide opportunities for people to engage in tasks that require them to work together as they tackle new concepts and build new understandings

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Research tells us that being kind in schools and workplaces creates a ripple effect building a positive culture, a sense of belonging, and wellbeing. Collaboration is one attribute affiliated with kindness! More and more contexts are making kindness a priority. Essentially, collaboration occurs when two or more people work together to produce or create something. This can happen either in person or virtually. Although like teamwork, collaborative engagement is not hierarchical – everyone has equal status! Collaborative learning and activities can translate to a range of benefits:

  • Stronger sense of context, culture, and community
  • Development of higher-level thinking skills boosting confidence and self-esteem
  • Boost team morale
  • Collaborative analyses of information, data and research
  • Sharing of knowledge and innovation
  • Incorporates multiple viewpoints and perspectives building inclusivity
  • Development and utilisation of strengths and skills of individuals
  • Improvement of social and interpersonal skills
  • Building trust

For many reasons (including technology and globalisation) the way we learn, and work is changing. Especially how we work together! A classroom is a miniature little universe, and an excellent space to instil practices that can help students throughout their adult lives. In the classroom collaboration can help students think more deeply and creatively about topics and develop more empathy considering others’ perspectives. As workplaces become more global and complex, activity has become increasingly team based and collaboration skills are essential. One study published in Harvard Business Review found that ‘‘the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50 percent or more’’ over the last two decades (Cross, Rebele & Grant, 2016). The same study found that at many companies, more than three-quarters of an employee’s day is spent communicating with colleagues. In schools, homes and workplaces collaboration skills enable people to work toward commons.

 

References

  • Cross, R., Rebele, R. & Grant, A. (2016). Collaborative Overload: Too much teamwork exhausts employees and saps productivity. Here’s how to avoid it, Harvard Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2016/01/collaborative-overload

Exploring Compassion

Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” It is the capacity to understand the emotional state of another and have genuine feelings for other people’s circumstances and feel motivated to support and assist. It requires a certain level of awareness, concern, caregiving and empathy. Compassion requires action. The benefits of showing compassion are numerous: increased happiness and decreased depression; social connection; increased self-esteem, empathy, and well-being. Self-compassion is the care and nurturing we offer ourselves when we make mistakes, do not achieve or are disappointed with our actions. It serves an important function for self-kindness and forgiveness reducing feelings of anxiety and depression. Self-compassion is also an essential life skill that supports peoples’ mental health and emotional resilience. The activities sourced and designed provide opportunities for people to look and reflect internally and to understand emotions, and responses to life events. The development of positive self-love will better equip people to have compassion and respect for others and themselves.

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive ~ Dalai Lama  

Compassion and kindness are super powers and mindsets that can change the world!

Compassion is defined as the emotional response when perceiving suffering and is the ability to understand the emotional state of another person or oneself. Whilst the words compassion, and empathy are often used interchangeably and are fundamental aspects of quality relationships, they differ. Empathy is the ability to put oneself in the other person’s place, take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another person. Compassion has the added element of having a desire to alleviate or reduce the suffering of another and involves an authentic desire to assist and act. Research confirms that a compassionate lifestyle leads to greater psychological well-being. It promotes social connection among adults and children. Social connection is important to adaptive human functioning, as it is related to increased self-esteem, empathy, well-being; and higher interpersonal orientation (Seppala et al., 2013).

Compassion is social in nature – we have compassion because we are social beings. Establishing social connections requires the ability to express care and concern for other people, as well as to identify with them. But compassion is not necessarily an automatic response to another’s dilemma.  It is a personal response often elicited by experience and occurs when the situation is perceived as serious or unjust. It requires a certain level of awareness, concern and empathy. Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. It involves treating oneself with the same kindness, concern and support you’d show to others. When confronting personal mistakes, failures, and shortfalls, self-compassion responds with kindness rather than tough self-judgment.

There are many benefits associated with compassion and self-compassion for children, students and adults in a range of contexts:

  • Increased happiness
  • Higher levels of well-being
  • Supports parent-child relationships
  • Increased cooperation and better learning
  • Promotes workplace engagement, dedication and loyalty
  • Improved health and well-being among volunteers
  • Supports a productive environment
  • Greater job satisfaction and less stress in workplaces
  • Reduces pressure, anxiety, increases resilience to stress and burnout

 

References:

  • Seppala, E., Rossomando, T., & Doty, J. R. (2013). Social connection and compassion: Important predictors of health and well-being. Social Research, 80, 411–430

Empathy is the awareness and understanding of another person’s thoughts, feelings, and circumstances.  The ability to co-experience the feelings and thoughts of other people, is probably one of the most important skills a person may have. Understanding others’ feelings and needs helps people maintain friendships, encourages tolerance and acceptance of others. Empathy promotes good mental health and wellbeing. Being empathetic assists people in building and maintaining strong and healthy relationships with their friends, family, co-workers, and community. Helping people to develop a strong sense of empathy is beneficial because it promotes social harmony, reduces the likelihood of prejudice, lowers levels of stress and contributes to emotional and social growth. In an ever-changing and diverse world appreciating and being sensitive to others’ experiences, backgrounds, and cultures is essential.

Empathy is a key attribute of kindness and makes a powerful contribution to a happy world. Empathy is the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aspiring to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding and knowledge to guide a response. Understanding other people’s emotions and perspectives is a key skill in day to day engagements in a range of contexts. Empathy can enable us to resolve conflicts, to build more productive teams, and to improve our relationships with friends, family and co-workers. Those with high levels of empathy are skilled at understanding a situation from another person’s perspective and reacting with compassion.

In education the benefits of empathy include building inclusivity, optimism, positive classroom culture and community; and preparing students to be leaders. In the workplace empathy is becoming more important!  Improving organisational culture starts by improving relations between the people making more authentic relationships. When people feel understood themselves, they’re more receptive to others’ concerns—and team cohesion and collaboration follow suit. Some signs associated with an empathetic person:

  • They often think about and connect with how other people feel.
  • They try to help others who are struggling.
  • They care deeply about other people.
  • They are good a good listener.
  • They are highly intuitive.
  • They notice non-verbal cues and body language.
  • People often share with empathetic people their circumstances and problems.
  • They are good at picking up on how other people are feeling.

The ability to be compassionate, empathise and connect with others is critical to our lives, both personally and professionally. Demonstrating empathy – a key part of emotional intelligence – also improves human interactions in general and can lead to more effective communication and positive outcomes, in school, social, work and home settings.

 

References:

Gratitude is from the Latin word gratus, which means “thankful, pleasing.” Gratitude is a feeling or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. Gratitude is an emotion like appreciation – taking the time to appreciate what you have is one of the keys to cultivating gratitude. Gratitude is the single best predictor of individual well-being contributing to life satisfaction, happiness, optimism, hope and positive affect. Gratitude is different from other caring emotions such as empathy and compassion and it develops as it is intentionally cultivated. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude requires people to look at their situations from a point of appreciation rather than from a deficit.

Harvard Medical School (2019) suggests that gratitude is: “a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives … As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals–whether to other people, nature, or a higher power” 

Kindness and gratitude are powerful concepts and positive emotions. Gratitude is being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen in life and taking the time to express appreciation and positivity. A simple ‘thank you’ can change the way people interact, feel and perform. Studies show that when people feel gratitude there are many mental and physical benefits including the ability to better cope with stress; higher levels of happiness and optimism; reduced depression; improved sleep; improved resilience and increased self-esteem. Scientific research found that adults who are more grateful have higher levels of wellbeing, are happier, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives. In workplaces and different contexts feelings of gratitude support improved productivity, stronger relationships and a happier workforce and culture. Gratitude plays an important role in organisational success!

Even though expressing gratitude is good for the body and mind, it’s not always an easy task. Some ways people can embrace gratitude include:

  • Making it a part of a daily routine
  • Having an awareness of others
  • Embracing challenges
  • Recognising others’ efforts – even when not successful
  • Saying ‘thank you’ often
  • Creating authentic relationships

Gratitude can be contagious reaching far beyond our immediate environment into our communities!

 

References:

Honesty is defined as fairness and straightforwardness of conduct. It is when one speaks the truth and acts truthfully and is often connected to sincerity, integrity and trustworthiness. But honesty is not just about telling the truth. It promotes openness, gives clarity and empowers one to be authentic. Being honest requires courage, realism, trust and it takes practice. Learning honesty can be a challenge! Often social media and the virtual world create unreal perceptions of honesty and different concepts of reality. Honesty has connections to other traits that support kindness, in particular self-compassion and self-acceptance. The activities sourced and designed provide opportunities for people to explore authenticity and integrity in their own lives, classroom, workforce and community.

Honest and authentic thoughts and actions contribute to a kind world. Honesty is admirable in many cultures and revered in religions around the world. It refers to a component of moral character and implies positive and virtuous attributes including truthfulness, integrity and straightforwardness. It also infers the absence of lying and cheating. Honesty also involves being trustworthy, loyal, fair, and sincere. Honesty is also about being authentic with oneself and others. It embodies the capacity to present yourself in a genuine and sincere way, taking responsibility for feelings, attitudes and actions. Honesty promotes openness, empowers and enables us to develop consistent behaviour and expectations of ourselves.  It stimulates confidence, commitment and trust.

Through a process of cultural socialisation children develop integrity and the associated behaviours including honesty, respect, authenticity and social responsibility.  As children and students are influenced by social and cultural learnings they develop understandings of acting honestly and the courage to stand up for what they believe is right. School environments are contexts were students can explore and acquire values and behaviours from peers, adult role models and through community expectations. Classrooms can be safe spaces where honesty and truth can be explored. Honesty in the workplace encourages a sense of trust and integrity among employees, the work environment and the community. Integrity in the workplace comes in many forms including having work and social ethics including honesty, dependability, sound judgement, perspective and loyalty. It connects with professional standards and values. Having honesty and integrity helps promote an open and optimistic work environment and an ethical approach to decision-making. Having a high degree of integrity means that:

  • You are trustworthy, dependable and reliable
  • Engage in open and honest communication
  • Meet commitments and are responsible
  • Develop respectful relationships
  • Are responsible for your actions

Honesty is the foundation for trust in all relationships, and trust is necessary for a relationship to develop, function and thrive. Being honest with yourself is also fundamental for personal growth, development and happiness, as well as connecting to self-acceptance (Durham, 2017).

References:

Humility means “the state of being humble.” Both the word humility and humble have their origin in the Latin word humilis, meaning “low.” A low focus on the self is not self-deprecating but rather an accurate recognition of one’s accomplishments and worth. Being humble allows a person to acknowledge their limitations, imperfections, and mistakes. It means learning to value oneself in a way that isn’t dependent on outperforming other people or being the best. Being humble also means putting the needs of another person before your own and thinking of others before yourself. There are many emotional and social benefits associated with humility including self-control, generosity, tolerance, acceptance and a lower sense of entitlement.

Humility and kindness are two of important values in life. When first considered humility can seem like a negative quality emphasising weakness rather than a trait of strength. Humility is frequently associated with being too passive, submissive or insecure. However, definitions of humility promote an understanding that every human is valuable: an acknowledgement that each person is worth no more or less than another person. The Merriam-Webster dictionary succinctly defines the word as “freedom from pride or arrogance.” C.S. Lewis sums up the concept suggesting “humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”  Humility requires an acceptance of oneself and humble people are confident and competent in themselves. Examples of modest and humble behaviour include:

  • Acknowledging mistakes
  • Showing gratitude to others
  • Being coachable and accepting feedback
  • Supporting others to succeed
  • Assuming responsibility
  • Situational awareness
  • Celebrating their and others’ achievements
  • Competing with self rather than others

Emotional and social intelligence involves the ability to be cognisant of and control one’s emotions embracing mindfulness. In educational settings it is essential that teachers actively promote humility and gratitude to build a safe and collaborative environment. Children and students who are humble can recognise their own strengths and acknowledge their challenges whilst valuing others’ contributions and personal characteristics. Showing appreciation to peers in classrooms support relationships increasing and enhancing student self-worth and the creation of cooperative learning spaces.

In the workplace humility has been defined as a dispositional quality of a person – whether that person is a leader or an employee – that reflects ‘a self‐view that something greater than the self exists’ (Ou et al. 2014, p. 37). Humble workplace cultures are also environments where people feel valued, honesty is embraced, positivity is paramount, and success is celebrated.  Humility in the workplace is about showing respect to colleagues and valuing all contributions. Research has identified characteristics of humble leaders. Research shared in the International Journal of Management Reviews found that people described as “humble” share the ability to:

  • Acknowledge their limitations and strengths;
  • Appreciate others’ strengths and contributions without letting their ego get in the way;
  • Maintain an open mind and a desire to continuously learn from others;
  • Seek diverse feedback often;
  • Apologize when they are in the wrong; and
  • Avoid being defensive, aggressive, or domineering (Neilsen & Marrone, 2010)

Humble people know their self-worth!

 

References:

  • Boss, J. (2015). 13 Habits of Humble People. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffboss/2015/03/01/13-habits-of-humble-people/?sh=2e52683349d5
  • Nielsen, R., Marrone, J. A., and Slay, H. S. (2010). A new look at humility: exploring the humility concept and its role in socialized charismatic leadership. Journal of Leadership and Organisational Studies, 17, 33–43. doi: 10.1177/1548051809350892
  • Ou, A.Y., Tsui, A.S., Kinicki, A.J., Waldman, D.A., Xiao, Z. and Song, L.J. (2014). Humble chief executive officers’ connections to top management team integration and middle managers’ responses. Administrative Science Quarterly59, pp. 34–72.

Humour from the Latin word umor means to be fluid and flexible. Defined, humour is a quality in something that makes you laugh – it could be a situation, someone’s words or actions, something that is heard or seen. If you are in good humour, you feel cheerful and happy, and are pleasant to people. Humour is considered a character strength because it can be used to make others feel good, to build relationships, and to help buffer stress resulting in increased feelings of emotional wellbeing, cohesion and optimism. Humour encourages enjoyment, increased engagement and communication, teamwork and enthusiasm.  Research also suggests that humour reduces negativity and depression. However, if humour is used divisively or to disparage others it can have negative impacts on self-esteem and confidence. The activities sourced and designed provide opportunities for people to comprehend, appreciate, and produce humour. A happy environment where laughing together is prioritised will promote a warm, secure space where individuals are valued.

Kind people experience more happiness and humour and laughter are reported to enhance happiness! The Cambridge Dictionary defines humour as the ability to find things funny, the way in which people see that some things are funny, or the quality of being funny. It is the ability or quality of people, objects, or situations to evoke feelings of amusement in other people. There has been a significant body of research conducted to illustrate why and how humour works. Specifically, laughter activates the “happy hormones” and subdues the stress hormone cortisol. A sense of humour is the ability to experience humour. A sense of humour is influenced by a range of variables including context, age and maturity, culture, location and context. For example, satire appeals to mature audiences, young children favour slapstick and young adults are likely to smirk at self-deprecating humour. Aaker and Bagdonas (2021) surveyed 1.4 million people in 166 countries and found that rates of laughter plunge at the age of 23 –  as we “grow up”. It has been found that a four-year-old laughs 300 times a day; whereas a 40-year-old only laughs 300 times every 10 weeks. Humour has many benefits including the capacity to make criticism more palatable; make difficult and heavy conversations lighter; and explore challenging topics in a very gentle and subtle way.

Humour in the classroom has many benefits. It can promote an open and safe environment supporting classroom management. It can also reduce anxiety in testing conditions lightening mood. Garner (2011) cites numerous studies that show the positive effects of using humour in the classroom. He suggests that humour is a powerful teaching tool that can create a positive “emotional and social environment” in which students can lower their defences and retain focus. Garner also says that humour can “initiate and sustain student interest” as well as improve students’ divergent thinking and memory of the topic presented. Humour in the classroom has the potential to increase creativity, reduce stress and negative talk, build relationships in the classroom and with families and support team work.

Humour is a common element of human interaction and has also been described as an important component of organisational culture. Humour in the workplace can create a positive environment in which knowledge and ideas are shared liberally and interpersonal relationships can thrive. Some reasons why humour is a key to success:

  • Reduces stress
  • People enjoy working together
  • Builds trust between colleagues
  • Makes peers more approachable
  • Reduces tension and conflict in the workplace
  • Increases productivity
  • Promotes creativity and divergent thinking
  • Boosts morale and team connections

Laughter a key outcome of humour is powerful and is good for individual’s health!

 

References:

Mindfulness is the human ability to be fully present. Being engaged in the moment means that we are free from distraction and open to an attitude of acceptance, curiosity and calmness. Cultivated in Buddhism, mindfulness embraces an appreciation of the moment and a larger perspective on life. Mindfulness supports and enriches meditation, while meditation nurtures and expands mindfulness. Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which there is an intense awareness of what is sensed and felt in a moment, without interpretation. Research suggests that there are many benefits to mindfulness including improved wellbeing and physical health by relieving stress, lowering blood pressure and improving sleep. Mindfulness meditation also improves mental health being an important element in treatment for anxiety, depression and a range of disorders.

The cultivation of mindfulness has roots in Buddhism, but most religions include some type of meditation technique that helps move individuals’ thoughts toward an appreciation of the moment and a larger perspective on life. The term “mindfulness” refers to a psychological state of awareness and the practices that promote this awareness. It is often also described as a moment-to-moment consciousness of one’s experience without judgment. Mindfulness can be cultivated through practices such as yoga and tai chi, but most of the literature has focused on mindfulness that is developed through mindfulness meditation. These self-regulation practices focus on training attention and awareness to bring mental processes under greater voluntary control and thereby foster capacities such as calmness, clarity and concentration (Walsh & Shapiro, 2006). Mindfulness meditation helps improve individual’s ability to comprehend their emotions and helps to recognise the emotions of other people. Researchers posit that mindfulness meditation reduces stress and rumination; fewer depressive symptoms; decreases anxiety; promotes metacognitive awareness and working memory capacity; supports the use of emotion regulation strategies and boosts working memory and focus.

In recent years education researchers and teachers have focused on social emotional learning and the emotional wellbeing of students. Research confirms that social and emotional competencies can be taught, modelled, and practiced and can lead to positive student outcomes that are important for success in school and in life. Given the attention to student wellbeing and the recognition of the importance of happiness there has been an increase in holistic health activities in educational settings – these include mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation activities and techniques that calm the mind and body can decrease the negative effects of stress and expand students’ ability to stay engaged. Saltzman (2021) states “mindfulness is a powerful tool that supports children in calming themselves, focusing their attention, and interacting effectively with others, all critical skills for functioning well in school and in life.”

The workplace can be a very stressful competitive place where achievement and success can be an expectation of employees. In work environments there is an expectation of productivity, focus, teamwork and at times it can be demanding. Mindfulness mediation can be a powerful tool that individuals and teams can utilise to decrease stress, connect with colleagues, strengthen focus and demonstrate resilience. Some benefits to the incorporation of mindfulness meditation practices in the workplace include:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improves communication
  • Increases emotional intelligence and resilience
  • More cognitive flexibility
  • Increased self-awareness and self-insight
  • Increased immune functioning
  • Reduced psychological distress
  • Increased relationship satisfaction
  • Improved focus

Mindfulness meditation has the capacity to support people’s sense of awareness, clarity, calmness and compassion.

 

References:

  • Saltzman, A. (2021). Still quiet place. Retrieved from http://www.stillquietplace.com/
  • Walsh, R., & Shapiro, S. L. (2006). The meeting of meditative disciplines and western psychology: A mutually enriching dialogue. American Psychologist, 61, 227–239. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.61.3.227

Positivity is the practice of focussing one’s mind affirmatively on the good and constructive aspects of a matter to exclude negative or destructive attitudes and emotions. Having a positive mindset is a mental and emotional attitude suggests an optimistic rather than pessimistic outlook on life – “Is your glass half-empty or half-full?” Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism suggesting the benefits include lower rates of depression and levels of distress; better psychological and physical well-being. The positive thinking that usually comes with optimism is a key part of effective stress management. A person with a positive mindset encourages and motivate others making them feel good which builds friendly, caring and safe environments. Positivity can change the way one feels about themselves and others, which can in turn have a huge effect on the well-being of all. Positivity is a state of mind we would all like to achieve which is lucky because it is also a skill that improves with use. The activities sourced and designed provide children and students opportunities to explore ways to think and act positively. Becoming positive and optimistic is a skill that will assist students to engage in happy and healthy relationships, be confident with a ‘can do’ attitude!

Kindness and positivity are powerful concepts and actions! Positivity embraces thinking in an optimistic way and adopting a positive frame of mind. There are many traits and characteristics associated with a positive mindset including: gratitude, mindfulness, integrity, optimism, acceptance, and resilience. Researchers continue to explore the benefits of positive thinking and optimism on health which include better psychological and physical well-being; lower rates of depression; lower levels of distress; better coping skills during hardships and stress; and better relationships and conflict management. Being positive also awakens happiness; increases your motivation; promotes a sense of self-esteem, self-confidence and inner strength; and improves physical health. While positivity embraces a positive frame of mind it does not mean that negative feelings are not experienced or ignored. It is essential to acknowledge unpleasant and difficult feelings, learn from them and use the knowledge gained to improve the self.

The classroom environment is one of the most important factors affecting student learning and their social emotional development. Children and student learning is enhanced when the learning environment is considered positive and supportive. Positive people and spaces support feelings of belonging, satisfaction, trust, and safety in risk taking occurs (Bucholz & Sheffler, 2009).  Positivity also supports people to build social skills and strategies that help them to engage and succeed in everyday life.

Research indicates that positivity boosts wellness in the workplace. Recognising the value of positive organisational behaviour in the workplace promotes authentic leader behaviours, organisational integrity, psychological capital and supports job performance. Optimistic people are also happier and more involved in their work, have coping abilities and are more likely to overcome diversity. Ways that positivity can be promoted in the workforce include practicing thankfulness during teamwork; showing gratitude; mutual appreciation and respect; using positive messaging in face to face and online communication; having awareness of and commitment to the team mission; and acknowledge accomplishments.

Positivity builds resilience and spreading feelings of positivity will not only strengthen an individual’s mindset but will contribute to the mindset of others. In all contexts a positive frame of mind can benefit individuals as optimism supports:

  • Inspiration and creative thinking
  • Perseverance and determination
  • Self-belief
  • Expectations of success and achievement
  • Solution and action orientated work ethics
  • Self-esteem and confidence

Kindness and the inherent positivity behind it have been scientifically linked to improved mental health and happiness therefore an essential focus in the ever-changing contemporary world!

 

References:

  • Bucholz, J. L., & Sheffler, J. L. (2009). Creating a Warm and Inclusive Classroom Environment: Planning for All Children to Feel Welcome, Electronic Journal for Inclusive Education, 2 (4).

Self-acceptance is the awareness of and satisfaction with one’s strengths and weaknesses, the non-judgemental realistic assessment of one’s talents, capabilities, and general worth. It results in an individual’s feeling about oneself, that they are of “unique worth”. When we’re self-accepting, we’re able to embrace all facets of ourselves—not just the positive, more “esteem-able.” Building capacities to accept oneself is critical to a sense of wellbeing and crucial to mental health.  Benefits of self-acceptance include increased positive emotions, sense of freedom, self-worth, autonomy, and self-esteem. Strong self-acceptance also decreases fear of failure, and self-critique, depressive symptoms and an overwhelming need for approval. People have the capacity to develop self‐acceptance – to learn to be more attentive to the thoughts and beliefs ‐ especially judgments we have about ourselves and others and their impact on our relationships and daily lives.

Self-acceptance is kindness to yourself! True self-acceptance is embracing who you are, without any qualifications, conditions, or exceptions (Seltzer, 2008). It is exactly what its name suggests: the state of complete acceptance of oneself – all attributes, positive or negative, strengths and weaknesses. Whilst one can accept character weaknesses or behaviours, self-acceptance also promotes the desire of the individual to change and improve the self. Thus awareness and acknowledgement of habits, traits and personality, and the capacity to critically reflect and change is a key component of self-acceptance.  Acceptance of self is the beginning point for improving self and essentially permits oneself to be human. Self-acceptance involves:

  • Having compassion for yourself
  • Being less judgmental about yourself
  • Critically reflecting on weaknesses and challenges
  • Awareness and embracing of self
  • Self-compassion

Educational settings and schools in conjunction with home environments are of central importance for social and emotional learning. In contemporary times there are many conditions that impact on children and students’ confidence and emotional states. Social media and society generate comparison of just about everything often creating unrealistic expectations. Often young people are the least well-equipped to deal with the emotional and mental challenges presented by various social media platforms and therefore developing self-acceptance is key to their successful engagement. Self-acceptance provides a way of looking at the world as individuals consider their own value and self-worth. These skills lead to emotional regulation and resilience supporting a growth mindset. Having a high sense of self-acceptance and self-worth is also important in the workplace. Self-awareness is a critical component of being able to present yourself in an authentic way and build genuine connections with peers and co-workers. Realistic appraisal of one’s talents, capabilities and worth in the workplace creates reasonable expectations, supports developmental goals and relationships. Some of the benefits of self-acceptance and recognising self-worth in the workplace include:

  • Positive mental state
  • Increased engagement
  • Improved work outcomes and quality
  • Higher efficiency
  • Increased trust in self and motivation
  • Better relationships with team members
  • Increased self-confidence and positivity
  • Capacity to challenge self for self-improvement

Embracing self and accepting strengths and weaknesses in critical to personal and professional growth.

 

References:

Trust is the confidence that a person or group of people has in the reliability of another person or group. It is the degree to which one feels they can depend on the other party to do what they say they will do and the belief that a person will behave in certain ways. The predictability of an action or behaviour builds a feeling of confidence and security contributing to trust. People who trust are happier, relaxed and more functional. Trust has many benefits including increased optimism, higher levels of self-confidence, lower stress levels, peace of mind and more meaningful social connections. It is essential that in our contemporary world that dimensions of trust and social media are also investigated as ‘fake news’ has the capacity to damage personal and public trust. Trust as a process is heavily influenced by individuals’ experiences, context and history.

Trust and kindness is a central part of all human relationships, family, community and business life. Trust is both and emotional and logical act. Emotionally, it is where one reveals their vulnerabilities to people, with the expectation they will not take advantage of your candidness. Logically, it is where one has assessed the probabilities of responses, calculating expected outcomes, and concluded that the person in question will behave in a predictable manner. Trust can be described as the following:

  • A set of dependable behaviours
  • A belief in a probability or reliability that a person will behave in certain ways
  • A feeling of confidence and security in another individual

Emotions associated with trust include companionship, friendship, love, agreement, relaxation, comfort. Trust has many benefits that support healthy relationships including:

  • Enhanced social connections
  • Lower stress levels
  • Higher levels of self-confidence
  • Increased optimism
  • Supports social interactions including reciprocity

Events happen in life that can make trusting people, contexts and scenarios challenging and daunting including bullying, trauma, violence and abuse. Social media can also create unrealistic conditions and difficulty in determining truthful scenarios and circumstances making people more vulnerable. Building trusting educational environments supports peoples’ wellbeing and sense of security. In classrooms when trust and respect is mutually felt by all stakeholders the environment is predictable, and people take risks in their learning and feel valued. Other benefits of trust include stimulated productivity with students maximising effort; engagement in critical situations, and increased altruism with students displaying positive behaviour and more responsibility.

Trust has been shown to play an essential role in workplaces. Research suggests a high trust culture nurtures collaboration and creativity, encouraging innovation (Seppala, 2015). In high trust workplaces, colleagues are encouraged to work together, and a team mindset is valued. When trust, a strong sense of camaraderie, loyalty, and creativity are high, and stress is low, employees are happier and more productive. The expectation of working in high trust cultures is growing; increasing numbers of millennials are entering the workplace and they want to work for companies that are collaborative and transparent. People are wanting to be proud of the organisations they work for and to value what it stands for, missions and values. Trust occurs when people feel the company takes a genuine interest in the ‘whole person’ and wants to help them accomplish their goals.

 

References:

Kindness Curriculum Poster

The benefits associated with giving and receiving kindness are tangible and result in overwhelmingly positive outcomes for the world around us. Science confirms the advantages to the body and mind.

Click here for Printable PDF or Digital PDF.

Additional Resources

We aim to continue to provide updates that may interest teachers who want to embed Kindness Curriculum attributes in their schools and classrooms. Parents may also find many of these activities suitable for use in their home.