Create Some Ripples--Spread Kindness

October 07, 2013

Photo courtesy SP Veres

“You can accomplish by kindness what you cannot by force.”
—Publilius Syrus

I don’t write about current events and the issues of the day because, frankly, they’re too complicated, give me anxiety attacks and make me feel helpless. I’d much rather concentrate on the smaller, day-to-day issues and experiences we all face, that we all can do something about. The current political and financial condition of the US, in particular, is scary beyond belief (and my Rays are down to the Red Sox 0-2!). I can do nothing to affect either of those situations. What can I do? I can be kind.

And before you laugh at what seems to be a completely inadequate response, hear me out. Like happiness, kindness can be contagious. Apparently, according to research by a California professor, one act of kindness can spawn others as people “pay it forward.” Just think what a different world we could live in if millions of people would simply do one kind thing every day. (For a preview of a documentary on the subject, click here.)

What is kindness? My definition includes consideration, gentleness and generosity. Being kind isn’t necessarily the same thing as being “nice.” Kindness has power. Choosing to be kind means we’ve thought through our actions and decided to act for the good of another. We can be kind with words, but more often kindness requires action. We don’t have to like someone to be kind. We don’t have to agree with them to be kind. We don’t even have to know them. We can, always, speak with respect, and treat others the way we would like to be treated. (I’m betting you don’t want to be shouted or honked at, or told you’re wrong or stupid, for exampleall too frequent occurrences in this unkind world.)

Instead of taking our frustrations and anger out on others, let’s be kind. Instead of ranting about the state of the world, let’s help a neighbor take her trash to the curb, donate to a food bank or take our old towels to the animal shelter. Maybe we can’t make our country’s budget woes go away (or help the Rays win a game), but we can reach out to a friend, acquaintance or stranger and lighten his or her load just for a moment.  

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
—Scott Adams

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4 comments

  1. Great post! Yes, a little does go a long way, sometimes.... :)

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  2. Thanks, Michelle. I think we (I) forget how much the little things mean.

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  3. Amen!!!- though it's nice to think nice thoughts about something, it becomes really special when you let someone know you're thinking nice things. When you make someone else's day happier, yours will be happier too. (as you said--"contageous"!Anita.

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  4. Anita--Definitely! Maybe we can start a kindness and happiness epidemic!

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