To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer. Mahatma Gandhi
We can always make a difference by showing kindness to ourselves and others. Kindness seems to be missing in our toxic national environment today. Yet, I see kindness exhibited every day by others. A smile can go a long ways in brightening another’s day. We never know what burdens the other may be carrying, and small acts of kindness make a difference.
John Naisbitt coined the term high tech/high touch in his 1982 best seller Megatrends. This was in answer to the PC and its impact on our human interactions–long before the explosion of social media and how it has changed our way of communicating. We have entered the world of high tech at the cost of high touch. Research shows we are craving human connection and often don’t know how to reach out and experience it, thus we numb ourselves through a variety of addictions. Isolation creates fear which in turn creates hate for “the other.” We are seeing this play out in our country today.
I believe kindness is an antidote to our lack of human connection. Kindness can show up in so many different ways. Words of encouragement, a thank you, a listening heart, offering help to someone struggling with groceries, etc. It is easy for me to get caught up in the ugliness of today’s divisive rhetoric. I have to remind myself of the daily acts of kindness I see, and also be sure to be kind to those I encounter throughout my day.
We don’t often talk about self-kindness. This is as important as showing kindness to others. Is my self-talk negative? Do I put myself down throughout the day when I think I’ve made mistakes? Am I critical of my looks? All of these add up to interior violence. When I am unkind to myself it often carries over to being unkind to others. I get caught up in my own negative mindset and place it on others. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.”
After our past week of violence in so many different parts of our country, may we all find ways to show deep kindness to ourselves and others.