By Ally Wall
Take a look at what surrounds you. I don’t mean the papers scattered on your desk, the bland walls of your office, or the fluorescent lights that glare down upon your head. I mean the violence. The hate. The complete disgust that we show each other based solely on a political party, the color of our skin, or the job title we hold.
People are dying.
Merriam-Webster defines dying as “gradually ceasing to be.” We are all dying. We are ceasing to be our true selves. We are terminating kindness, killing the spirits of those who pass us by.
All I see is the roar of profanity and insults across streets, the senseless beatings of other people, the inability to listen, the destruction of property and livelihoods, the ambushing of those who are sworn to protect.
What does that say about who we are?
Now, imagine that you were sitting on the edge of green grass and the calm waters of the marsh below. You’re looking out at the golden sunrise. You’re also with a combination of races, genders, strangers, and friends. You’ve spent an entire weekend listening to each other’s grievances, worries, desires, pain, and hope. All that you have to do now is tell each person what you admire about them.
Upon doing this exercise in real life, I noticed that the people around me are all struggling. Each and every person has something that they hate about who they are. They’re hurting. It was amazing to see how each positive remark that I made about the person sitting in front of me lifted the weight that has been dragging them down. Each of us contributed to the spread of kindness.
Merriam-Webster defines kind as “a group united by common traits,” and as “sympathetic. Considerate. Thoughtful.” And randomactsofkindness.org defines kindness as “choosing to acknowledge and celebrate the beauty of others, regardless of whether or not they can find kindness within themselves.”
I believe that we have all learned the danger of a pandemic, but Covid-19 is not the only disease spreading through the veins of this nation.
The people cannot continue on their route of being closed off to other people’s opinions, hurling vile remarks at each other, and being the reason that others cease to exist.
Psychology Today has given several tips on how to spread kindness.
1. Open your eyes. This means that we must begin to notice the suffering around us. We cannot create walls to keep ourselves from seeing what is truly happening.
2. We must have a willingness to celebrate others’ successes. Too often we jump to criticism of others rather than accepting and celebrating who that person is.
3. We must have the courage to give and receive thoughtful feedback. We cannot close ourselves off from receiving feedback from others. It’s how we grow as people. We also cannot tear others down. We must help others on their journey in becoming the best version of themself.
4. We must have flexible thinking. Put yourself in the shoes of those you come in contact with. Don’t jump to conclusions about who you think they are based on surface-level knowledge. Be willing to look at arguments from every angle.
5. Listen to others. It may seem like a kindergarten rule, but some have forgotten it. Take the time to listen to someone’s point of view. Attempt to understand why they feel a particular way. Ask questions, and try to relate to what has led this person to believe what they do.
I’m tired of watching the way that we speak to each other. I’m tired of people jumping to conclusions and ignoring my thoughts. I’m tired of feeling as though I have to refrain from being my true self because others will have a problem with who I am.
We are the only people who can fix the world in which we live. How are you contributing to society?
Mark Twain stated that “kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Kindness can be felt stronger than resentment or hostility.
Be kind. What do you have to lose?