From the dictionary: kind·ness /ˈkīn(d)nəs/
Noun – the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
From Wikipedia: Kindness is a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern and consideration for others. It is considered a virtue, and is recognized as a value in many cultures and religions.
I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness this week. I see, and share, quotes and sayings about kindness when I see them. I like them. I believe in them. It makes me feel good to read them and share them. But what about the embodiment of kindness? I resolve to make the world a better place by being kind and so I do something nice for my family, say a prayer for the healthcare workers, and help an annoying coworker out of a tough spot they created themselves. Then I pat myself on the back. Today, I say to myself, ‘Self. Seriously?’
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. – Aesop
Last Monday on Facebook, I shared a HONY (Humans of New York) story about a man that was in need of a kidney. A friend he met in a parenting class offered to give him one. When that option didn’t pan out, the friend took his act of kindness to the next level.
As I was catching up on my PEOPLE magazine reading this week, I finally finished The Kindness Issue. (November 18, 2019 – hey, I’m behind on a few.) Jon Potter, a handyman from Pittsburgh, vowed to say yes to anyone asking for his help. His four year journey has been fueled by remorse over his failure to respond to a request from a woman in need.
When you are kind to others, it not only changes you, it changes the world. – Harold Kushner
If you’re one of the 60 million Netflix subscribers in the U.S., I encourage you to check out The Kindness Diaries. In season one, Leon Logothetis travels on a motorbike with sidecar from California to New York City. He has no cash and accepts no money, relying only on the kindness of strangers for food, shelter and gas to continue his journey. In season two (which MOH and I started this morning) Leon set out from Alaska in a VW Beetle on his way to Argentina, again without money, relying on strangers to aid him in his journey. The people he meets, and the stories they share, are humbling and inspiring.
I spent the afternoon pondering a world where everyone is kind. Imagine Facebook without snarky comments, naysayers, and personal attacks. Wouldn’t it be great to commute to work in a world where other drivers didn’t cut you off, flip you off, or run you off? What about a political campaign in which candidates spent ALL their time explaining their own platform and intentions instead of spending all their advertising dollars telling us their version of what their political opponent did or didn’t do. My brother tells me it used to be that way. Unfortunately, I can’t remember that time.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. – The Dalai Lama
Also unfortunate – the fact that many people view kindness as a sign of weakness. “Sadly, I’m concerned that in this country there is a lot more emphasis on raising ‘strong’ kids,” says Barbara Greenberg, a clinical psychologist in Fairfield County, Connecticut. “And in many households that is synonymous with taking care of yourself, with little emphasis on the feelings of others.”
Based on my own experiences, and as illustrated in the stories above, it seems being kind requires courage and strength. So for now, for me, I will continue my pursuit of being kind. I’ll look for kindness in others whether that be through friendship, business relationships, or community leaders. I’ll reflect and try to do better. I am on a learning journey (aren’t we all?) and every day, I’m practicing.
In the end, only kindness matters. – Jewell