By Lanaya Nelson for Stop.Breathe.Action
Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses. –Confucius
Let’s examine kindness. Being in the state of genuine kindness takes a lot of selfless courage these days, as the state of genuine kindness has been devoured by the American culture of consumerism: “What’s in it for me? Nothing? Then you will experience no such kindness.” Yup, you know what I’m talking about- the selective kindness that only comes out to reap benefits. This, my friends, is not kindness. Real kindness is the kind of untried benevolence and selflessness that gives you faith in humanity. It is a genuine care and curiosity about another without any ulterior motives. It’s the kindness that is displayed when no one is looking. It’s out there, you just need to try harder to better discern between the two.
And when you do find it- do not mistake kindness for weakness. Do not take advantage of another’s goodwill just because you know they will concede. Try to harbor yourself in their kindness, be grateful, and try to learn from it. Kindness takes effort! It is a terrifying thing to put your ego on the back burner. But, with anything, it gets easier and easier the more you do it. You can make it a habit. Some have an innate genuine kindness, and for some- it needs to be cultivated. You can do it!
Try to actively see the good around you: seeking out kindness in others, and not their faults. I know this sounds like it is simple, but it is actually really hard not to focus on others’ shortcomings. The more you notice others’ random acts of kindness- it will begin to permeate unto your daily encounters and how you handle certain situations without you even realizing. This will automatically eliminate manipulation, and genuine kindness will surface.
Make someone else feel better today, lend a hand, or simply take the time to really listen without any expectations of receiving something in return. This is how the habit of kindness is built.