It seems a little ridiculous at first to need to ask adults to be kind to each other. After all, it is one of the first things we learn in life. We are told to share, be polite and show love. So why does it take just one trip to the grocery store or a few seconds of watching the news to see this is a lesson often forgotten?
It is easy to label those who act with anger, frustration, or (worst of all) fear instead of kindness as different than we are. We tell ourselves, “I know better. I treat others equally. I am not part of the problem.” But we all have those emotions inside of us. We all have inherent bias, unhealed scars and moments of unkindness.
The secret of kindness is that it takes effort and time. It is more than just resisting negative urges and saying please and thank you. True acts of kindness ask you to step outside of yourself for someone else. It requires time, energy and thought and isn’t just a subconscious reaction.
When we think of acts of kindness, many of us think of random encounters with strangers or actions that will have a large impact. But it starts with how you treat those in your own circle and, even more so, how you treat yourself. How have you shown yourself kindness today? What was the last thing that you did especially for a loved one?
Kindness is not something that we can place on auto-pilot. But, the good news is that you are actually helping yourself when you show kindness to others. This video by the Acts of Kindness Foundation explains some of the benefits of simply being kind:
Once you understand the effort and time that kindness takes, it becomes your responsibility to work kindness into your life whenever possible. What can you do to show kindness to the people around you today? What is something you can do for yourself this week? What is a project that you can take on that will have a positive impact? Is there a cause you are passionate about?
Sometimes, it just takes one act to change someone’s life.