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  • Writer's pictureThe Advocacy People

Thoughts on kindness

Kindness – what does it mean?

Is it an important trait in an advocate?

This week has seen Random Acts of Kindness Day, a day where people deliberately set out to think of others and bestow kindnesses, large and small.

But in our professional lives as advocates, is kindness an innate part of what we do?

We asked The Advocacy People’s HR director Graeme Clark his thoughts on the subject…

What is kindness?

When you look up the definition of kindness, you get words like: caring, considerate, helpful, generous and friendly.

Any act of kindness, random or not, has to be a positive in the world at present.

For me there is most definitely a connection between kindness and advocacy.

Let’s start by thinking about social justice – which aims to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth, opportunities and privileges within a society.

Advocacy as we know and deliver it here in our organisation embraces elements of both kindness and social justice. It tries to make sure the people who deserve social justice have their voice heard through the mechanism of advocacy. I see it in practice within the teams and from the feedback we hear and receive from the people we work with.

Advocates are a voice for people’s genuine concerns, and are there when people find it hard to speak for themselves. They take a neutral, considered and considerate view of the people we work to support.

In my view, the role of an advocate is often occupied by people who are of a generous and giving nature and who look for the better in people. They seek solutions and hope for positive outcomes, even when faced with the challenges of the law and bureaucracy but at the same time kindness doesn’t always cut it in advocacy.

We don’t exactly take a ‘cruel to be kind’ mentality, but if we are too helpful, then it doesn’t help the person, as it is disempowering, and we are all about empowerment and promotion of the person we work with.

Sometimes being fair, but firm with clients is an act of ‘hidden’ kindness – they may just not realise it in the moment.

We have to be able to kindly but firmly retain the boundaries and support people to support themselves: with the hope and aspiration that through our support the people we work with have gained confidence to speak up for themselves in the future.

In a fair and equitable world, there would not be a need for Advocacy: Ultimately we want to put ourselves out of business!


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