What does it mean to be kind?
I grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, a place where citizens were moved by laughter, jokes and happiness. People were always trying to have a good time, they always found the bright side of everything. Kindness was part of them, in my mind they were born kind.
Well, it results that kindness and empathy are learned, you learn it from watching others, you learn it from people being kind to you. The society I come from was so used to random acts of kindness that they didn’t have to think about it. It was natural.
So, what is happening in our society today? Why do we have to be reminded to treat others how we would like to be treated?
Human beings believe (or are taught to believe) that if they have the top position then they will have all the joy and happiness in the world. They work so hard to become successful. Little do they realize that happiness doesn’t come from a position or money or power. It lies within the person and with the people they love. In the obsession for success, people may lose love to money and status. Gradually, people’s priorities in life have changed to that being of achievement or success oriented. Many people don’t even follow their heart and have become machines.
Have we forgotten kindness?
Let’s think about it. Random acts of kindness don’t just benefit the ones you gift but also helps your own mental health.
According to research from Emory University, when you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed—not the giver. This phenomenon is called the “helper’s high.”
When kindness leads our actions, we are more likely to receive empathy.
Being courteous, along with showing love and respect will pass on a positive vibe throughout our global family. Feeling the good vibes all around you will keep you energized and rejuvenated. When you give and show kindness, you will also ultimately benefit.
Helen Riess, (Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Empathy and Relational Science Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, as well as, co-founder and Chief Scientist of empathetics.com), states that “empathy plays an important role in our society’s ability to function, promoting a sharing of experiences, needs, and desires between individuals. Our neural networks are set up to interact with the neural networks of others in order to both perceive and understand their emotions and to differentiate them from our own, which makes it possible for humans to live with one another without constantly fighting or feeling taken over by someone else. Research has shown that empathy is not simply inborn, but can actually be taught.”
The way we see people, the way we interact with people, the way we talk to people, the way you make them feel, it all counts. We all have a choice. Choose kindness. This will make an impact in the lives of others and in your own life, as well. Speak Kindness.
We all want to be part of a society that cares, allow your kindness and empathy to flourish. Open your eyes and change your perspective.
These are 10 easy ways to show kindness for children and adults.
- Draw or color a picture to give to someone.
- Bake a yummy treat for grandparents.
- Listen to someone tell you about their day.
- Leave a nice letter in your library book
- Smile to everyone you see.
- Donate toys.
- Leave kindness rocks at a local park.
- Leave a Thank you note to the delivery person.
- Help your parents with chores without being asked.
- Visit a nursing home.