The past year has been a challenge, to say the least. Covid, lockdowns, protests – it seems like the whole world is angry. Stress levels have been turned to “high” and depressions seems to be a normal state. I get it. Trust me, I get it.
People deal with stress in various ways. Some people meditate or do Yoga. Others practice breathing exercises or listen to their favorite music. Some people find joy and comfort in helping others cope. But some – too many it seems – turn their frustrations on others.
Social media is a favorite place to lash out at people. It’s all too easy to be rude to faceless strangers. Perhaps we should change the name of the popular social media to “Faceless.” Just a thought.
Of course, there are also numerous examples of random kindness on social media. One group I belong too, named the “Buy Nothing” group, exists solely to give to other people. The items range from books to beds to iPads. I’ve seen posts from people donating hot meals to “tired mommas”, or a deluge of donations to people recovering from a fire. I’ve seen examples of selflessness and giving, from people who have little to give. It warms my heart and helps me keep things in perspective when it seems like there is nothing but hate in the world.
Kindness exists. It always has and it always will, so long as there are humans. The thing is – kindness whispers and anger shouts. News programs proclaim the existence of anger in loud, dramatic ways. If you listen to it enough, you begin to believe that there is an abundance of hate.
Hate has always existed. But kindness is still there. You just have to look for it. Or maybe – stop looking at all the examples of bad behavior. Hard to do when it seems that we want to deify criminals and focus on depressing news. After all, examples like rescuing a newborn kitten, or replacing a child’s stolen bike don’t seem “important” enough to be newsworthy.
There are numerous acts of kindness every day. Someone noticed a child who needed clothes and reached out to the Buy Nothing group. The response was immediate and abundant. Another person asked for food to get them through until payday. Again, there was a rapid response. I give examples from that group because it is one I am personally familiar with, but there are so many other examples.
You need to really search for the good lately. It is in danger of becoming lost in the cacophony of anger, but it is there. We need to look. For the sake of our own sanity and happiness – we need to look.
So next time you are feeling overwhelmed by the news of the day, try this: look around. Really look, and listen, for the small acts of kindness. It can be something as small as someone letting you go ahead of them in line or holding the door open for you. It can be as subtle as the smile of a stranger – if there are masks in place, you may have to look harder, but you will still see the small crinkles near the eyes. Take a day and search for kindness. Be still and listen for it. Let it seep inside you and soothe your soul. If you can’t find it, make it your mission to Be the Kindness.
For the sake of your happiness, start looking for the good, and listening for the small sighs of kindness. Help the world, help yourself, to turn down the volume on the anger and hate. It’s time to be kind.