We Are All Born Kind

December 14, 2023

Vaishnavi Rana is a young changemaker from India who aims to foster a brave and non-discriminatory atmosphere, promoting open dialogues and efficient solutions for pressing issues such as human trafficking and mental health. She is vigorously engaged in research, advocacy, awareness campaigns, and networking activities to address these concerns. She represents the Asian region with organizations like Ubuntu Leaders Academy, Ubuntu United Nations, and World Youth Alliance to foster the dignity of individuals and engage in training in human rights and diplomacy. She was selected to participate in the second edition (2024) of the Ubuntu United Nations program as one of the representatives of India, which aimed at uniting changemakers from around the globe to address issues that affect them, as well as to engage in advocacy and idea-sharing with prominent figures such as Nobel Peace Prize laureates, former heads of state, and other international leaders through significant intergenerational dialogues. Since 2019, she has been leading a student-led project on human trafficking that works on the principle of ‘Choice is Empowering’ for the survivors of human trafficking.  She has been recognized for her work as one of the leading young change-makers by the Girl Move Academy of Africa. With organizations like Born This Way Foundation, Letters to Strangers, and Snehi, she is working to create an equitable mental health ecosystem in her country and start the “RIGHT” conversation on mental health to eliminate the stigma around mental health.

This story took place in India

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“Be kind whenever possible, it is always possible” – Dalai Lama 

Many of us are kind without even knowing it because it is the simplest attribute that we carry. We don’t need to be calculative and rational to show kindness towards others which can be the case when you are influenced by the emotions like suspicion, jealousy, and manipulation. And, still, the world witnesses a lack of kindness and compassion. The answer to this irony lies in one of the interviews of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, where he beautifully mentioned that “Our human nature has been distorted.” Society has pushed our thinking to be self-centred but we should actually be thinking of the collective.

Kindness is considered to be a luxury because the societal belief that the entire world is ‘red in tooth and claw’, and everyone is merely busy defeating others. This sentiment can never be entirely true because if a war-prone area is exemplifying the ruthlessness of troops, it is also the place where organizations like the Red Cross are showing impeccable examples of kindness and compassion. The world will always look dark and gloomy if you judge your life with a “glass half-empty” mindset, as opposed to a “glass half-full” mindset.”In rethinking the false beliefs and stereotypes about kindness, a world full of kindness emerges from our perceived lack of knowledge about ourselves and the world around us. We may focus on others’ ideas and ways of behaving but will never give time to our ideas and perceptions. We may read a whole book of great philosophers but will never work on our philosophies. Why are we not able to understand that if we are having emotions like grief, sadness, frustration, envy, arrogance, and selfishness, we are also a reservoir of joy, happiness, kindness, compassion, politeness, and selflessness? 

Kindness for others begins when we are kind to ourselves when we realise that we possess positive attributes and, most importantly, when we start accepting ourselves and our life the way it is. 

Being kind to ourselves does not include becoming selfish and self-obsessed, but self-kindness entails recognizing the real meaning of our existence, which does not mean following a pyramid of achievements but achieving a true sense of satisfaction. Therefore, a journey of acquainting ourselves with our true selves is essential to bring out kindness for others.

A self-realization process will not only make us aware of our hidden kindness but will also help in adopting a wider perspective on life, the perspective that emphasizes that “without love, there can never be grief.This way, we can show kindness to ourselves by processing our pain effectively and experiencing joy in the process.

Unless we have self-compassion, we can never show kindness to others. Psychologist, Kristin Neff, also mentions that when we treat ourselves with compassion, we begin a true process of discovering a world full of kindness because kindness has to be felt within our soul to be felt for others. 

Let’s cultivate “the art of introspection” to bring out a world full of kindness around us!

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