The Magic of Kindness

magic of kindness

 

 

Kindness is magic.. It is a warm glow that uplifts the heart and nurtures the soul. We are social creatures and we rely on the milk of human kindness.   It is simple yes, but too eluding in this world. It is all too rare and oh so beautiful like a lone purple wildflower among a sea of indifferent green.

As I’ve grown older I appreciate simple acts of kindness more and more.

There are two sides to kindness; the giving and the receiving. Both teach us valuable and distinct lessons and at some point in our lives we will have experienced each side to varying degrees.

kindness kind cat lady old wheelchair

I have found those who have suffered the most, endured the most, to be some of the most understanding, generous and kindest people I’ve ever met, but that road is not easy, these are the exceptional ones, the stronger ones, there are others, ones that have fallen by the wayside. The ones that society is all to eager to overlook.   There are those with hard outer shells forged out of fear, the ones that seem too tough to crack. They may be gruff, indifferent or just plain mean. All of them are human beings and nine times out of ten all they need is some simple human kindness. One could say that there are those who don’t deserve such a precious commodity as kindness. I say they are the ones that need it the most.   It’s not easy to be kind to some.  Be the stronger one.

Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.

-Kahlil Gibran

To openly express empathy for someone else, especially a stranger is sometimes  looked upon as weak or at least eccentric in our society.  How off the mark is that? It requires strength to practice compassion. Being kind is not always so easy.  It often requires putting aside our natural selfishness to put someone else first. It may involve some sort of sacrifice however small or large, and no one said it would be easy.   We have all heard stories of great kindnesses done upon others.  It makes my heart sing to hear of these good deeds but it is those simple kindnesses; the one’s we do everyday unto each other, the one’s that seldom get noticed. To me,  they are the most important, the most crucial in adding some peace, love and understanding to this eclectic mix of lifeforms on this lovely planet of ours.

kindess -everything--kind-people-are-magnets-for-all-the-good-things-in-life-

 

If we as a  society can collectively decide to put a greater focus on kindness and it’s cultivation, our world would be a kinder place. Kindness is an asset to our civilization and it should be treated as a precious commodity.

Empathy and kindness should not only be encouraged in schools but taught. We are not born being kind. It isn’t until at least the age of two before we show our natural capacity for empathy and it isn’t until four or five before we exhibit a theory of mind, meaning that we are able to understand that other people may have feelings and beliefs that are different from our own.

kindness girls sunflowers friends
The capacity to care is what gives life its most deepest significance. ~Pablo Casals

 

We learn kindness from others; by how we are treated and our experiences. We are shaped by this. Those of us who have experienced kindness, gentleness and love in our lives, especially in our younger years are more apt and more able to express those very same emotions and sensitivities to others.  It is  our young people who will form the world of the future. It is these same people that are being exposed to constant messages of civil unrest, violence, bigotry and hatred. Our society tells us one thing and does another. The civilness of what we deem a civilization is eroding at the edges.  I fear we are being desensitized to the suffering of others–there’s so much of it.  The media puts this suffering on center stage dressed up as infotainment and presented to us through the safety of our screens. It’s easier to be indifferent, it’s easier not to care.

All the more reason to care…

 

kindness hands I will be there for you

 

I am compelled to make up for every little pain I have endured in my life, every unkindness done to me, through indifference or pure malice. I try not to take the acts and attitudes of others personally. I’ve found most of those who strike out in anger do so not out of hate for the victim but out of a  hatred for themselves. Hurt travels. It is infectious; a vicious cycle of contagion.  This is something I try not to succumb to.

It is kindness that I like to spread as my defiant act against a cold and heartless world.  For every unkindness done to me, I try to do a kindness to make up for it.   That warm glow is priceless my friends and it feel so good. Simply put: Doing good makes us feel good.

 

 

This is the stuff that can change the world.  We can change the world!  One smile at at a time, one act of kindness multiplied by seven billion..and then some and then some more..until those acts of kindness cover us all and heals the hurt that ails us.

~NLM

kindness quote dalai lama art

 

 

 

Related articles

What if Schools Taught Kindness? (Huffingtonpost.com)

Natalie Merchant – Kind and Generous

  Random Acts of Kindness website

Why You Should Give a Damn

“You can present the material, but you can’t make me care.”
― Bill Watterson

Some say the world will end with not with a bang but a whimper. I say ours may end with the dull and empty thud of indifference.

A blatant apathy lies thick like a hazy cloud over our populist culture. It’s cool not to care. Johnny doesn’t give a damn and the indifferent world doesn’t bat an eyelash.

 

observer tv baby

From the time we are children, society teaches us not to care too much or at least pretend we don’t. To act in such a manner is a  sign of childish insecurity, it’s not only foolhardy but too trusting and stupid. We are encouraged to develop a sense of skepticism and mistrust especially when it comes to people we don’t know.

The world is a scary place. I could write a thesis on how frightening it is. I think we shut off a little of ourselves bit by bit as the inevitable blows of life hit us. By the time we are grown adults we have lost so much of that beautiful trust, that loving nature and natural compassion children feel and openly express.  We are taught to see differences in each other and these differences are not good. This polarizes us.

no one is born racist people together

 

I think people tend to wrap themselves in a protective cloak of apathy. It’s not only easier not to care, it also hurts a lot less. When we care we are vulnerable. It makes perfect sense to want to close off a wee bit and tone down those emotions.

Distractions come easy and going along with the stampeding crowd is understandable given the alternatives.  It’s better to conform.  In many ways it’s essential if we want to live in a civilized society.

It is easier just to go along. Right?

Traumatized and shellshocked children in the village of Aitaroun. Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez.
Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez.

This world is sick and we all know it. My eyes glaze over when I watch the nightly news which I admittingly cannot watch much anymore. I see pics of starving children and burning forests and war. Our brains can only take in so much information. Our hearts can only take so much pain. We become desensitized, it’s a survival mechanism. I think that’s why on a collective whole we seemingly don’t care, or we care more about stupid meaningless distractions. I think we’ve reached a saturation point. It’s all too much and if I don’t notice maybe it doesn’t exist and I won’t have to do anything about it.

 

apathy i dont care
“The world doesn’t end in revolt and revolution…it ends in apathy.” ― Nick Shamhart

 

Why should I care? Why should you? Why should anyone?  We know life is not fair. It’s a hard lesson that still stings. We are savvy enough to realize that fairy tales typically don’t come true and that life is not only not fair it’s a bitch too.

I can see how people especially the ones who get the short stick may get a little angry with the world and society in general.  I can see how easy it could be not to care for someone who doesn’t care about you. I can see how one could get caught up in inevitable feelings of futility; why should we care about a world that doesn’t care about us?  I ask again why should I care?   I know that I am but one small voice in a sea of millions so I better shout it out:

I care because someone has to care, dammit!!

If there is to be any meaning in my insignificant scant-of-a-minute life it’s this: that I made a difference however small on the side of good and that I  took whatever sad, nasty or indifferent thing that came my way and turned it into something wonderful, however small.  I cannot  expect anything more or less. I want to leave this world a little better than how I found it.

I want to live in a world where people care about one another and I want my children…I want all the children and their children to grow up in such a world. There is too much ugliness, too much to tolerate. I suppose the way I cope with it is by not only ranting about it, but living up to the ideals I’m ranting about.

Kindness begets kindness and if more people gave a damn more people would give a damn. We all could use a little more kindness  And so there it is:  My spiel for the day. You can only do what you can do….

 

~NLM

 

 “The earth was overwhelmed with beauty and indifferent to it, and I went with a heart ready to crack for its unbearable loveliness.” ― Josephine Winslow Johnson

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