Whenever you turn on the news these days chances are it is not covering a very happy story. It’s likely about something involving violence, hatred, anger, tragedy, or disaster. For whatever reason people tend to latch onto what makes somebody different, with the impression that different equals less. That can make it feel like the world we live in is a pretty sad, desolate place. There just doesn’t seem to be enough positivity or happiness to outweigh all of the nastiness and disgust. Sometimes it feels like there is a lack of kindness.
If you dig deeper, however, there isn’t a lack of kindness at all. Rather, there is a lack of awareness of the kindness we encounter on a daily basis. There doesn’t appear to be a true appreciation for those people that share and exude kindness on a daily basis. So, how can we remedy that? Where do we begin? Well, November 13th is World Kindness Day, so perhaps we can use that as a springboard to bring kindness back into the spotlight. Here are a few suggestions.
Keep it up. If you’re somebody that already shares kindness with those around you, don’t stop! Although it can be easy to feel discouraged, the world needs your positivity and caring nature now more than ever.
Initiate. There may be an opportunity to share a moment of kindness with someone but you don’t necessarily want to stand out or draw attention to yourself. Don’t be afraid to be the person to share kindness! Chances are there’s somebody else that is watching and needs to see your example.
Notice. Look around you more often and obverse the random acts of kindness. You may be surprised by how many caring people you encounter without even realizing. That awareness will open your eyes to the beauty of kindness.
Defend. It’s typically people that are marginalized in society that are on the receiving end of hatred, violence, and anger. If you see someone that can’t protect themselves or is viewed as “different”, be their defender. Stand up for them and help them realize that they are in fact valued and loved.
Nudge. Sometimes people need a gentle reminder that their actions are wrongfully motivated or are outright harmful. Push those people back in the right direction by reminding them what true kindness looks like.
Empathize. Put yourself in the shoes of people that are different than you. Instead of responding with judgment try and understand their situation in life and how a simple act of love can be just what they need.
Support. Kindness can take many different forms. It can be an outward act of giving and caring. Sometimes, however, it’s just being a simple ear to listen to or shoulder to cry on. Be the supportive presence in the lives of those that are struggling.
Seek. It’s one thing to be more generally aware of opportunities to share kindness. It’s another thing to actively find and create those moments. Don’t just be complacent with acknowledging the kindness around you – be somebody that makes it happen for other people to notice.
You may think that kindness has vanished from the world. Depending on where you look there may be some truth to that. However, kindness still exists. It’s still present. And it still makes an impact. Instead of letting negativity, hatred, and despair dictate how we view the world, let’s flip the script. On World Kindness Day, on in the days to come, let’s view the world through a lens of kindness.