“Kindness” is not a term that is mentioned often in mainstream news articles, textbook pages, and magazine columns. Sometimes, the absence of hearing about kindness in everyday media can seem like there are no kind people or kind acts left in the world. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, though: kind people and the acts they choose to perform are rampant, and positively shape not only personal mental health, but the mental health of those around
the kind act or person.
In a world where movies, music, and mainstream media seem to glorify rudeness, pettiness, and sadness, the simple reaction would be to act in these ways and attempt to accept the fact that, as we’ve all heard, “it’s a cruel world.” The harder thing to do is to realize that this media exists for a purpose and that this purpose is not necessarily reflective of everyday life and the common occurrences we experience.
With the difficulty of this realization comes the acknowledgment that being kind – to yourself, to others, and to your community – takes effort. Like most efforts, though, this effort culminates in extremely positive results: a larger network of kindness, a feeling of success and satisfaction, and that much-sought-after feeling of genuine happiness.
Kindness has shaped my mental health by enabling me to realize that we have a choice when we are deciding how we view the world, and when we choose to see and act on the good around us, our mind thanks us. Despite what we all may have been through, the sun rises again each day, in a beautiful testament to renewal and rebirth.
While it may seem difficult, the good around us is simple to see and enjoy: the aroma of a cup of coffee or tea, snuggling in bed with a poem or a book, sitting on the couch with ourselves or a loved one or pet, a person donating their change to a foundation in front of you in line, or maybe a person acting to inspire others to be more confident and secure in themselves.
Being kind takes effort, and this effort often results in personal, mental, and spiritual growth reminiscent of blooming flowers in the light of the early morning sun. With each act of kindness we choose to perform, our mental health blooms in positive ways.
Each act of kindness we perform or acknowledge helps our mental flowers bloom into colorful, energized petals, petals which may at times be gray and withered from the seeming lack of kind acts in the world. Kindness is there, though; it is here, and it is thriving, just like our mental health when we choose to be kind.