“Kindness is a virtue,” is something I’ve grown up hearing all my life. It was mostly a reminder said in a chiding tone of voice followed by the quick ticking of my mother’s tongue after I’d inevitably said or done something unkind. Still, her coaching has stuck with me, and her voice is the one that guides me towards kindness whether she’s with me or not. Let me share this voice, this virtue, with you so that you can share it with others.
Kindness is defined as a quality of friendliness, generosity, and consideration. Take some time to reflect on yourself for a moment. Would you describe yourself as a friendly person? Do you reach out to new people? Do you welcome others into your life? Sit by someone new. Start a conversation with a stranger. Listen to what your server has to say before you dismiss them mid-sentence with: “Water with lemon.” Opportunities are everywhere and remember: You don’t have to have a lot of friends to be friendly.
Are you a giving person? When was the last time you volunteered…and not because you had to, but because you wanted to? Donating your time, energy, and resources towards something you believe in will restore your happiness and revive your kindness. Attitude is everything. If you’re ever feeling down, get up, get busy, and go give. Listen to my mother’s voice: You don’t have to have a lot to give a lot.
Would you consider yourself considerate? Do you think of others before yourself? Do you try to make others lives easier, better, or more comfortable? When was the last time you went out of your way for someone else? …for someone you didn’t even know? Don’t be intimidated. You don’t have to think of everything; just remember to think thoughtfully.
It seems that the world has conditioned us to believe that kindness is weakness. Kindness is associated with naivety…as if we would act harsher if we knew better. I think that’s so incredibly sad and cowardly. Life isn’t always easy; in fact, I’d say it’s hard a great percentage of the time. How we confront these trials is what defines us. Challenges either build character or tear it down. So be brave! Don’t let hurt hold you back from reaching out. Pain, fear, and anger are things we all feel, but they aren’t things we need to hold onto. When we help each other by showing kindness, we draw the world grow closer together by coming outside of ourselves. Make connections. Form friendships. Share. Love. Listen to my mom. Grow. Keep trying. The more life we live, the more choices we have to make. Choose kindness every time. I promise it will make you stronger.