Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.
— Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Each one of us walks on parallel paths
Our lives Intersecting from birth to demise
With every soft glance, a few caring words
Warm smile, helping hands
It may not seem much, mundane and ordinary
A mere instance of one shared moment
And wonderfully, more than enough.
Roots of Kindness
Kindness is defined as a virtue and quality characterized by compassionate and considerate behavior towards others. Beneath this outwardly expressed way of relating to others is a more complex and personal meaning, rooted in understanding and genuine care for other people and for yourself.
This understanding is born from the belief that everyone matters. When we accept that we each have our own inherent value, a capacity for goodness, and different life experiences — then our instinctive capacity to identify with one another comes to the fore. It is this thoughtful attention and willingness to see beyond ourselves that fosters compassion and empathy, two of the keystones of kindness.
The genuine care that guides kind behavior starts with ourselves. How we talk to and treat ourselves is the foundation of our outward expressions of kindness towards others. Living with integrity, aligned with our own principles and ethics, enables us to know what is good and right for ourselves — deepening our capacity to extend that care towards another person. Maintaining our own boundaries when it comes to expressing kindness towards others also enables us to be kind to ourselves.
Being kind is different from being nice. Kindness is shaped by our own ethics, values and personal beliefs, while niceness is based on other people’s perceptions of us. This makes true kindness challenging at times, as it entails disappointing other people rather than pleasing them or making a good impression. When we act kindly with authentic compassion, reciprocity or recognition is a pleasant result and not an expected response from other people.
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. ― Plato
Celebration of Kindness
Be Kind to Humankind Week is a yearly observance that encourages us to spread kindness, empathy, and positivity throughout society. This week-long celebration, typically held from August 25th to August 31st, reminds us of the importance of treating one another with compassion and respect. It was created in August, 1988 by Loraine Jara of New Jersey, after a tragic boating accident in her hometown where one man lost his life from lack of assistance from passersby.
During this week, we are encouraged to engage in acts of kindness, both big and small. These acts can range from holding the door for someone, offering a smile to a stranger, volunteering for a local charity, or simply expressing gratitude to friends and family. For us fountain pen enthusiasts, it can be as simple and heartwarming as a handwritten, random note of kindness using our favorite fountain pens and inks. Our collective aim is to create a ripple effect of goodwill that goes beyond the week itself.
In this world often marked by stress and division, Be Kind to Humankind Week serves as the reminder that our shared humanity transcends our differences. It prompts us to look beyond ourselves, connect with other people on a deeper level, and nurture a sense of community and belonging.
The benefits of practicing kindness are extensive. Research shows that acts of kindness can boost mood, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being for both the giver and the receiver. By actively participating in Be Kind to Humankind Week and harnessing its principles, we contribute to a more harmonious and understanding society where compassion becomes a driving force in our daily interactions.
Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. ― Desmond Tutu
Fruits of Kindness
Kindness possesses a unique healing power that positively impacts our emotional and physical well-being. When we extend kindness to others or receive it ourselves, a cascade of beneficial effects occurs.
Emotionally, acts of kindness release endorphins and oxytocin, often referred to as feel-good hormones which elevate mood, reduce stress, and enhance overall mental health. Kindness encourages a sense of belonging that reduces feelings of isolation and loneliness. It encourages positive social interactions by building relationships and support networks that provide emotional resilience.
Physically, the reduction of stress and increased well-being resulting from kindness can have tangible health benefits. Lower stress levels contribute to improved immune system function which reduces the risk of illness. Moreover, the positive emotions associated with kindness can lead to healthier lifestyle choices and enhanced cardiovascular health.
Beyond these individual benefits, kindness generates a sense of community and connectedness. It enhances social cohesion and cooperation, which are crucial for societal well-being. By promoting empathy and understanding, kindness helps heal societal divisions and cultivates an environment where we can thrive both personally and collectively. In this way, the healing power of kindness extends from us to our communities, and builds a more harmonious and resilient world.
Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. — Franklin D. Roosevelt
Parting Thoughts on Being Kind
Kindness is a choice. It’s a daily, moment-to-moment practice with ourselves or another person. And it isn’t always easy, for it enjoins us to be sensitive in order to give it or receive it. There is a vulnerability tied to it, a certain susceptibility to someone else’s pleasures and hardships quite removed from anesthetized individualism. It requires an unselfing, to be able to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. And most times, the need for kindness comes from a place of sorrow bereft of compassion or grace. So please, be kind.
Happy Be Kind To Humankind Week!
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Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!