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Melissa Kulick | Ph.D.
Photo by Kelli McClintock via Unsplash
This past Monday was World Kindness Day. I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn if I say that the world could really use some more real kindness right now…
I also don’t believe I’m alone in my felt powerlessness over the ‘state of the world’, on both global and more local levels. While we, as individuals, may be limited in the reach of our direct impact, we can choose actions in our daily lives that help create the world we want to live in.
For many years I participated in a weekly program that brought lunches to houseless and hungry people in several Atlanta locations. Sometimes the need and the suffering could feel overwhelming and thoughts would run to a focus on what we weren’t doing and all those not being helped. Our Teacher would gently but firmly remind us to “serve who’s in front of us”. To not let concerns over what isn’t or can’t be done keep us from doing what we can.
Never underestimate the power of what may seem a simple kindness of letting a driver in front of you in traffic, or holding the door for someone entering or exiting a store, or complimenting someone in line with you on their jacket or their smile. And the fact is that when we turn light or openness toward another person, we feel that lightness or openness within ourselves. I know it has been my experience that when I lead with simple kindnesses like these, I connect with a place of gratitude and hope within and for myself and the world around me, even when I may have been in a darker or harder place inside to begin with. I find I identify more with/as kindness and it propels my thoughts and actions going forward; at least for a while.
Try it out for yourself. Maybe make this a Kindness Week, and see if, even just once a day for the next several days, you can make a choice to do one or more of the things mentioned above (or some other similar practice that speaks to you), and see how you feel.
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