What is it about kindness that makes it such an invaluable commodity in our world?
When we give out kindness, there is no physical exchange. We can’t see it coming out of us, nor can we see it being accepted. However, there is something about kindness that warms our world and makes it glow a little brighter – as if when we bear witness to it, a sun rises inside of us.
Why is it then, that with all the good that comes from kindness, it is often all too hard to do? When it feels easier to be rude, to be cruel, or to snap; that’s when it takes courage to be kind. Sometimes the decision to be kind takes all the strength we can muster. It seems that all too often our default setting is negativity. Yet no matter how hard it may be to convince yourself to be kind, once it’s done, kindness is something you will never regret giving out. We need to find a way to be braver in kindness.
As human beings, it seems that kindness doesn’t always come easily to us. Whilst anger is always going to be a normal and natural part of the human emotional response, it’s what we choose to act on and do that makes all the difference in the world. When anger flows through us, making our hearts race and our faces redden, and we choose to redirect that initial emotion, and instead show kindness, it means that we have not chosen what is easy, but that we have chosen what is right.
In our world, more than ever, we are all scrambling for a feeling of safety, searching for meaning in our lives, and constantly striving for acceptance, and all too often, it seems that kindness is the first thing we forego in these pursuits.
We build walls to keep people out, thinking this will bring safety to our homes. We put kindness out of our heads, thinking of it as a weakness that will inhibit us from getting ahead and succeeding in our endeavors. We get sucked into the comfort of being a part of a pack, and use negativity in an effort to form connections, purely because we hate the same things.
But we will never find safety if it is the unknown we fear.
We will never find satisfaction in the heights we are striving for, if the only way we can do it is at someone else’s expense.
And we will never be truly happy within ourselves if our identity is shaped solely by the things we hate.
We are so intent on painting the world into a ‘comfortable’ grayscale of sameness, that we’ve yet to imagine what a world with no difference would be like. What would life be if we all looked the same, sounded the same, ate the same food, and all had the same hobbies and interests? It seems that we’ve forgotten the vibrancy of a rainbow. Forgotten that what makes the rainbow so perfect, is the mix of some many different colors coming together as one. The beauty in our world is all of our different paths intersecting and coming together in the most perfectly imperfect way. Sharing our cultures, our passions and our stories with others. We need to learn to reembrace all of our differences because that’s what makes the world such a beautiful place to be a part of.
And in a world that seeks so often to try and divide us; a place in which people will wield division like a knife, hacking away at the things that tie us to each other in the pursuit of power, kindness is the impenetrable shield against their attacks, and the glue that will hold us together.
It is so easy to forget – when the ropes of bigotry try to pull us apart and make it feel as though we can never belong – that at the end of the day, we’re all in this together. People will never run out of reasons to segregate, using the differences that make us human as excuses to continue separating ourselves from one another. Whether it’s where we were born, the color of our skin, the people we love, or our views on the world – it’s not our differences that separate us; it’s our choices. We think that these differences are all reasons that we cannot coexist, when simply, they are the things that make each of us human.
We can make our earth as big or as small as we want. We are all creatures here. Yet we fail to recognize that if we create a world that is unliveable for one, it is unliveable for us all. The world is big enough for us all to coexist in peace, but small enough that every single one of us plays such an important role in keeping it spinning.
Too often we underestimate the impact our negativity can have when we dish it out, we forget the power of words, positive and negative, and forget that we all have the ability change the world; it is up to us to decide whether we want to change the world for the better or for the worse, whether we lead with kindness or with hatred.
Hatred is a disease. And it is killing us. Kindness is the antidote. Because to buy into the hate, is to extend hatreds lifespan, and the longer hatred is spinning out of control in our society, the more bodies it will leave in its wake.
Practicing habitual kindness – kindness for the sake of kindness, without any expectation of thanks or repayment – is the greatest gift we can offer others, and ourselves.
It will never hurt you in any way to be kind, in fact, it actually makes us feel pretty good when we give it. It’s free and can transcend any age, language or social ‘barrier’. It may not always feel like it’s changing the world, yet one day, without even knowing it, your acts of kindness might just save a life – and without knowing it, you may just change someone’s world too.