(I’m writing this for anyone who has felt alone. I see you, and I hear you.)
When I was a child, I felt broken. Broken
I would walk into school every day and my world would crumble. Others thought it was perfectly acceptable to humiliate, berate, bully, and shame–(teachers and fellow students alike).
I remember walking through those dreaded school doors one fateful morning, and someone (to this day I know not who) had done the following dastardly deed: They had removed the black and white self-portraits I had created during photography class, then photocopied them, superimposed prison bars on the images, and had written things like”deranged animal on the loose” for the whole school to see.
The whole school.
When I saw those images, on the outside I remained stoic–“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” I repeated silently. Again. And again.And again. But as we all know too well, it is in fact words that often hurt us the most.
I remember walking to the nearest bathroom and crying my eyes out. When I left my newfound sanctuary, back into the world, I appeared totally unaffected. In reality, I was devastated. And, I knew that the bullies were winning, and so did they.
With the above scenario in mind, it doesn’t take too much to understand why I would spend my lunches by myself in the library. In fact, I spent two years seating alone in that library. Every single day. For two years. And then, as if by magic, everything changed. And, it changed as if by magic, because of a person just like you . . .
Just. Like. You.
A fellow student, someone I had seen around but had never actually spoken to, changed my life with one sentence: “Would you like to come and eat lunch with me and my friends?”–13 softly spoken words that broke down an invisible barrier between me and the rest of my school. A barrier I had been living behind to protect myself from the misguided hate of others. And yet, it was a barrier that came tumbling down with the actions of ONE person.
A person just like you (yes, I said it again).
It was that simple act of KINDNESS, that act of witnessing a lost boy’s pain, which helped me on the way to becoming the man I am today. It has been a long journey, but it started changing on that fateful day. All it took was one act of kindness to get the ball rolling. A power reach that everyone of us has . . .
The power to change the world.
Because to change the world, all you have to do is to change ONE life.
And to change one life (and, thus, the world), all you have to do is affect ONE person in a positive way. (You can also change the world by touching life in a negative way, too, but that wouldn’t be very cool or kind, now would it?)
The recipe for change is simple: Make people feel good. Make people feel like they matter. Make people feel their power. Make people feel seen. Make them feel YOUR humanity because then they will feel THEIR OWN humanity. So, what’s the best way to change one life, Leon? It’s simple. Go Be Kind.
These days, whenever I find myself feeling alone, I venture out and go on a kindness binge.
Because kindness isn’t something we do or write or think about, it’s something we must feel. And, when we feel kindness–whether we’re the ones giving it or receiving it–we get HAPPY. And here lies the true secret of kindness, it’s a genuine WIN-WIN. And, KINDNESS truly MAKES PEOPLE FEEL LESS ALONE . . . STARTING WITH YOU (the brave reader of this little blog post).
Remember, you are powerful beyond all your wildest dreams. Share that power with someone who needs it. See them. Feel their pain. Help them to see themselves. Whether it’s at school, at college, at home, at the grocery store, at Starbucks, on your travels, or in the workplace, be like that student who changed MY life one dreary day in London, England simply by being KIND.
It’s time to start on your own kindness journey. Adventure awaits.
*Please send a DM to @ChannelKindness on Instagram after the completion of your kind deed(s). Share with us how you changed someone’s life by simply being kind to another human being. I will then send you a free copy of my book, Go Be Kind.