Do not be afraid. —Jesus
Several decades ago, sociologist Pitirim Sorokin, who founded the Institute for Creative Altruism at Harvard identified five obstacles to love: fear, stress, limitations, self-devaluation, and tribal altruism. Not surprisingly, they are also the obstacles to kindness….
The last obstacle to love and kindness is the most complex: tribal altruism—the sense that the small group is more important than the whole. Tribal altruism is the driving force behind racial conflict, religious intolerance, and war. It is also the dangerous halfway house we can become stuck in when practicing kindness.
When we first overcome our fear, stress, sense of limitation, and self-devaluation to extend kindness to others, we often start with what is near to us—our family, our "tribe," our religious group, our local community, our nation. But if we stop there, we risk the danger of perpetuating greater harm to the whole of humanity in the name of love for our smaller group. It is only when we can move beyond all five obstacles, when we can see every man, woman, and child as a precious and indispensable part of humanity, that we bring the practice of kindness to its fruition.
What obstacles to kindness do you most often experience? Today, just notice what blocks the free flow of kindness in your own life.— Editors of Random Acts of Kindness in Practice Random Acts of Kindness