Kindness has a much deeper effect and is much more powerful than we often realize.
Consider the "Dark Tetrad" of narcissistic, sociopathic, machievellian, sadistic attitudes and behaviors - borderline or full blown personality disorder. It is known to manifest in individuals but also on a large scale it manifests in nations. World history is full of examples - as is the present. I will refer to those who target others with any or all componentes of this tetrad, as "abusers".
Effects from the Dark Tetrad, as a whole or in any combination, are damaging and life threatening in a variety of ways, not the least of which is intended to motivate self-harm, no matter what or who is the cause of these shadowy dark night of the soul visitors manifesting in anyone's life. Whether the cause is a person or it is on a national scale, if self-harm is not the response, then the abuse escalates to sadistic harm, be that physical, emotional, mental, psychological, spiritual - individually or in combination - as long as an abuser believes or knows accountability for behavior will not be compulsory, nor crimes prosecuted should it become known the created problems have escalated to the level of recognized crimes.
I will not address how abusers become abusers, nor how they acquire and make use of enablers, nor our forgiveness of them motivated by our compassion, nor when there is seemingly a cessation of abuse, then a second unexpected "era" of more vicious adult-style abuse - the type of abuse which includes abusers expanding their sphere of abuse to others in our lives, all of which, again, requires forgiveness of the same abuser and additional enablers. Nor will I address that subsequent forgiveness is for one's own benefit not that of the abusers and their enablers. Suffice it to say that by the time some finish K-12 the equivalent of an undergrad psychology degree has been earned based on objective "field study" without having studied psychology. Eventually, when we are able to successfully understand and deprogram ourselves as the subject of our own objective field work, it is equivalent to grad work. Kindness is the key in all this work, to others as well as ourselves, as is what makes kindness possible.
I will address kindness. When an individual decides to work at having the strength to accept the personal challenge of living "normally", even seemingly happily within a limiting abusive environment from which it is not possible to absent oneself, there has to be a motivator. And to activate motivation there also has to be a genuine love and appreciation of others in the form of universal love - a love of that divine spark of life that is in each one of us. Such genuine caring and compassion eventually brings with it authentic deep self-knowledge and appreciation, as well.
The experience of universal love lost because of circumstances beyond one's own control often becomes universal love found, once again, because of another. When we accept that gift as responsible adults no matter what age (I was 12), it remains throughout life. If we experienced that when very young we may be fortunate enough to experience it again when we are of legal age and have more recognized control over our own lives. Perhaps some experience it many more times in life, as needed. Our good fortune is that after the reality of the abundance of universal love is once again reactivated, experiencing kindness reminds us that universal love is the inheritance of us all, thus it becomes the absolute best reason for always extending kindness - giving as much as we are able within the limits of our own circumstances.
We have no idea the personal challenges people have met in the past and must meet on a daily basis, even those we imagine we know well, those closest to us, and family. We never know unless they tell us, themselves. Many choose to navigate their difficulties with a grace that is only possible through the manifestation of universal love in their lives, regardless of whatever other trustworthy loving relationships might also be part of their lives.
The more we are reminded through the kindness of others that universal love is present to uplift us all, even in the most dire of circumstances, the more we are able to contribute to manifesting and holding it in the present moment - for all - especially when others also do the same.
Extending kindness and experiencing kindness reminds us that at our best we are all one as part of universal love, that even in times when life is most difficult for us, we contribute to improving the lives of others and ourselves through wanting to extend the generosity of kindness.
Kindness is one of the best and most productive habits of attitude and behavior we can choose to cultivate - a real superpower accessible to everyone.