Can you imagine if we lived in a world where everyone deliberately cultivated kindness? Where we intentionally saw the value in people, showed appreciation in the way we interacted and thrived off seeing others experience happiness?
Can you remember the last time someone was kind to you? How did it make you feel?
Kindness is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate”. The combination of these three qualities is what deems our behaviour an act of kindness. When we practice kindness either to people or towards ourselves, we experience positive mental and physical changes that has proven to lower stress levels and increase the body’s production of “feel-good” hormones such as dopamine.
Being kind helps to boost our immune system, reduce blood pressure, and reduce levels of stress and anxiety. Truthfully, it is one of best medicines out there – why aren’t we utilising it more?
Kindness paves the way for people to feel seen, valued and heard, and as our kindness positively affects others, it also enables us to feel more compassionate, confident, useful, and in control. One small act of compassion can make a significant impact in someone’s life, including our own; quite often it can be the smallest of acts that has the greatest impact.
A moment of support in a time of need, a quiet word of encouragement, a helping hand to carry a heavy load or just a smile that says, “I see you”.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” – –aesop
In our current society, kindness has mistakenly been linked in with labels such as “weak”, “soft” and “push over”, however, if we learnt to treat ourselves and others with more compassion, more generosity, more value, perhaps we would find that kindness is a strength.
Each of us has our daily habits; we have a way that we conduct ourselves when we interact with others and ourselves. There are things that we do every day without even thinking. We wake up, eat breakfast, brush our teeth, get dressed, drive to work, and so on. We are individuals of habit and routine, but what if we decided not only to value kindness, but to be aware of it and added a moment of kindness to our day?
- What if we as our alarm went off in the morning, we sent an encouraging message to a friend?
- What if instead of getting angry in traffic at the guy who cut us off, we smiled?
- What if we let the Mum with the screaming child order her coffee first, or even paid for her cup? What would it take for us treat others the way we would like to be treated?
- What if we show that others that they are seen, recognise the story of theirday (and all the chaos that may entail) and place value on them?
Kindness doesn’t have to be a big thing, but it is important, and it starts with us. One smile. One coffee. One conversation. That is all it takes. We have the power to change our world with kindness; are you up for the challenge?