Kindness Changes the World!
At first glance mindfulness seems to be just about the individual. Peace, calm and focus are the primary benefits usually promoted but, if it were only about the individual, how would that benefit others and the world around us?
Thankfully, (because I’m very passionate about the world around us!) mindfulness is also about others.
Compassion, gratitude and kindness are very important ingredients in the mindfulness mix. We’ll be looking at each of these over time but today I’m going to focus on kindness, especially kindness to others.
Kindness is very under rated.
It’s not something we often take note of or think about but, just for a moment, think back on some time that someone showed kindness to you.
How did you feel? What difference did that kindness make?
A kind word. A smile. A helping hand without expectation of payment. An acknowledgement of who you are. These are simple, yet powerful things.
I know for me, the kindness of certain people in my past helped shape my life. Seriously. I had a boss in my early 20s who once showed me such kindness – he sent me to so many training courses and gave me opportunities to develop - that led me into certain jobs and positions. I’m still grateful for him today.
Kindness is powerful and I firmly believe that if everyone were kind it world transform the world.
The most amazing transformation I’ve ever seen through kindness, would have to be when my husband and I lived in Afghanistan.
At the time Anton & I were working for a medical relief agency. We’d lived in developing nations for nearly 4 years but never had we experienced such sadness and hopelessness, on a grand scale, as we found in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
By the time we left, a year later, however, we saw the lives of several of the nationals totally transformed …simply through kindness. It wasn’t just Anton & I, there were 23 of us from other nations who truly “saw”, acknowledged and up-lifted the worth of the men who worked for us. Many of these men were broken, empty shells when we arrived and we saw them transformed into smiling, happy men proud of who they were a year later.
The key? Kindness.
And the kindness was a two-way street. It usually is. Be kind to someone and they feel empowered to be kind to another, they to another and so it goes.
I remember on one occasion, it was International Women’s Day, and I, as the project administrator, called all our employees together (only men because the women were not permitted to work). Here I was sitting in a room far too small for the 80+ men…plus me, a woman, chairing the meeting (yep, it was a totally surreal situation!).
A colleague and I then handed out red roses to each of the men asking them to take the flowers home to their wives or sisters and to tell them that they were not forgotten, the world knew of their situation and we remembered them.
I must admit I fought back the tears as I witnessed grown men crying into their beards. One said later that it had been years since they'd known kindness. Then one of the men stood and spoke on behalf of the others thanking me and the women in our team for leaving our families and countries to help the nation of Afghanistan!
OK, now I did shed a tear, for seriously, what I had given up was nothing in comparison to what these men before me had given up at the hand of a cruel regime.
Kindness. It’s transformative. It’s powerful. It shows the other their worth. It lets them know that they are seen. Those roses didn’t change the women’s plight, but it did let them know that there was a world that “saw” them and remembered them. Many of the men returned the next day sharing beautiful messages of gratitude from their wives. They had been seen! Worth was again given to them.
That’s what kindness does, in its purest form. It shows the other their worth.
So, you see I’m pretty passionate about kindness. To me it really is a super-power that can transform lives.
A kind act can change someone’s day. A kind word can lift up a sad heart. A kind deed can elevate someone’s worth. A phone call or message let's them know they're not forgotten. A kind nod can acknowledge a person’s existence.
Kindness. Simple, yet profoundly powerful.
Will you join me in being intentional about being kind to those around you?
When you connect with a colleague, or the person at the supermarket, or a call with a friend, or those you live with (somehow they're often the most difficult to be kind to!).
Also take note of another’s kindness to you. Tune in to how it feels. How kindness transforms you, if only for a minute, and then, pass that right back on to someone else.
Yep, I believe you and I can change the world, one kind act, word or smile at a time! Let’s go be kind!