Make kindness the new norm

As a kid, making friends was difficult for me. I was shy, withdrawn, and sensitive. And so when all the kids played during recess time, I used to spend my time just standing in a corner all alone eating my Nutella sandwich. 

Until one simple act of kindness changed everything. 

One day, just like any other day, an older girl came up to me and asked me to play with her and her friends. Even though I was just 6 years old, I still remember this moment to this day. Because it reminds me of the power that a smile from a stranger can have. It reminds me that every single person needs kindness. Whether we are 3 or 80, we could all use a little bit of kindness.

The reality of things is that no matter how small an act of kindness might be, it can mean the absolute world to someone. Because if we really think about it, we all have our share of challenging times, and we can all use a kind word or gesture to help us keep going. And in a time when social media and technology puts everyone’s life on display, we have become more vulnerable to bullying and unkind words.

Source: Twitter

That is why our world needs kindness more than ever before. 

Kindness is a simple act that can go a long way. Whether it is smiling at a stranger, helping someone, or surprising your friend with a random act of kindness, being kind has so much power. Kindness has the power to change someone’s mood and even save someone’s life. In fact, I remember how a year ago I met someone who shared how a stranger saved their life.

“It was 5 AM and I could no longer handle the voices in my head. I decided to put an end to it all, so I called a cab and asked them to drive me to a bridge. When I told the cab driver to take me to that place, they took a glimpse of me through their front mirror. I felt the driver tensing up. However, a couple of minutes later, he started telling me about his day. And how he was craving coffee. He then went to a small coffee booth and bought two coffees, one for me and the other for him. At that particular moment, I felt seen. I felt like there still might be good in this world. And so, right before we arrived, I told him to drop me back where he picked me up.” 

This is a story I still remember when I think about how far kindness can go. This stranger saved someone’s life simply because they had it in them to be kind. That’s how powerful and crucial kindness is. Studies even report that being kind to others can significantly improve their well-being. Not only that, but by being kind, you are also helping yourself get better.

I have always thought that kindness was more about the giver than the receiver. Because it has as much effect on the person doing the act of kindness as it does on those receiving it. Being kind reminds us that we have the power to be good and do good. It reminds us that we have a say in how we want our world to look in a decade or two. Therefore, it is our responsibility to spread kindness so that future generations have the chance to live in a kinder and better world.

“We all have an impact on each other. We are all connected in so many seen and unseen ways. Which possibly explains why one of the simplest and quickest routes to happiness seems to be to make someone else happy.” – From “The Comfort Book” by Matt Haig

However, kindness is not only about being kind to others, because a huge aspect of being kind is about learning how to be kind to ourselves. The same way we owe it to the world to show kindness and compassion to those around us, we owe it to ourselves to be as kind. It is imperative that we learn how to give ourselves a break, silence the inner critic we all fight and dislike, and show ourselves some compassion. This can be as simple as giving yourself a day off or doing something you’ve always wanted to do. Whatever self-kindness looks like to you, make sure you do it frequently and as often as you need.

Source: Instagram

And as today marks World Kindness Day, I hope you decide to choose kindness every single day and make it your new norm. I hope you learn to look for kindness in your everyday life and think of ways you can be kind to yourself and those around you.

Because if you really think about it, all you really need is a single step. A single thank you. A single hug. A single smile. 

Kindness can be as simple as a single gesture, start practicing it. 

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