From the day we are born, we are told and taught in many different forms - to be kind to people. The famous expression, “It costs nothing to be kind.” is one that is most commonly used in this context. Helping someone figure out where the bus stop is or offering your seat to an elderly person, all these acts are regarded as ones of kindness. But what does kindness actually mean?
Kindness, when used as a noun, is defined as "the quality of being kind, gentle, and helpful." However, according to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, "kindness" was defined as "helpfulness toward someone in need, without expecting anything in return or for the sheer satisfaction of the individual offering help's own benefit, but rather for the person being helped in the situation.
To put it simply, kindness is more than just being polite. Being merely nice can give the impression that you are acting superficially and doing the bare minimum. Being kind, on the other hand, entails carrying out deliberate, benevolent acts. Not just when it's suitable or convenient, but also when it's challenging.
Kindness is a very subjective topic and can have varied interpretations that vary from person to person. The crux lies in how you decide to show it. Whether it is through being mindful of others or tiny gestures of kindness, lending an ear to someone in need, or just empathizing with those around us, you can choose to view kindness in any form.
In this blog, we attempt to shed light on what kindness means in the modern context and why it is so important to be kind now more than ever.
World Kindness Day
The 13th of November is designated as World Kindness Day each year. The day was marked as such to lay emphasis on the strength and influence of being compassionate. Even though the UN has not yet recognized this day, it is generally observed worldwide.
The origins of the first world kindness day take us to Tokyo, Japan in 1997. This was where the first world kindness movement was hosted. Japan was successful in bringing together like-minded countries from across the world to band together and celebrate this observance.
Many nations, including Canada, Australia, Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates, observe it now as an annual event with a different theme every year. The day started being observed annually in 1998. "Be Kind Whenever Possible" is the theme for World Kindness Day in 2022. This straightforward idea encourages people to act with kindness and compassion in their daily lives. World Kindness Day honors all those people who go above and beyond to assist those in need.
The Importance Of Being Kind
Kindness has never been more relevant than in today's time. With all the suffering a pandemic and an ongoing war have caused us, even tiny acts of kindness like a smile or just saying good morning to a stranger can go a long way. Our lifestyles have gravitated towards terribly hectic and self-centeredness. More often than not, we may not even know how a person close to us might be suffering.
World Kindness Day reminds everyone that kindness is expressed through words and actions and it has the power to change the world. Being kind to someone and doing good for others can not only aid the person receiving help but can also be very rewarding to you. Let's look at a few heartwarming instances of kindness and how they were repaid forward.
Tiny Acts Of Kindness
A few shirts of kindness
Every day Allen came to the office, he noticed the help of the office dressed in the same ragged clothes every day. This made him curious but he didn’t want to embarrass the man. During their office Christmas party, Allen decided to give him a few new shirts. Adil couldn’t be happier. Adil took home the shirts and shared them with his younger brother. Allen’s kind act helped two people and made them really happy.
Maria got a cake for her birthday!
Sara works 2 jobs a day, 6 days a week to be able to put food on the table every day for her 7-year-old son Luke and 3-year-old daughter Maria. Sara lost her husband a couple of years ago and was the sole breadwinner of the family. On Maria’s birthday, she went to the store to get groceries for a tiny cake and Maria’s favorite dish. At the counter, she was $3 short. The lady behind her in the queue offered to give her $3 dollars to help her. That lady’s kindness helped Maria get a cake on her birthday.
A seated ride home
After a very tiring day at work, all Matt would have wished for was a seat on the subway ride home. As luck would have it, he got one! Thankful Matt proceeded to take a seat when he saw an old man behind him. There wasn’t anyone stopping him from sitting except his morals. He offered the seat to the elderly gentleman. The man thanked him and took a seat. A young boy who was watching what was happening got up and offered Matt his seat. When Matt asked him why, the boy answered, I was going to give the old man my seat but since you gave up your seat, you can have mine. Matt reached home happy that day.
A jacket of kindness
Hiding behind the pillars of her office entrance, Vidya noticed a girl nervously holding her shoulder. She walked up to her and asked her what had happened. During the scuffle to get off the local train, Kaveri had torn her blouse at her shoulder. She had an interview in 10 minutes at Vidya’s office and needed to ace her interview but her torn shirt could be a disqualifier. Vidya lent her jacket to Kaveri for the interview and wished her good luck. Now, Vidya and Kaveri are the closest friends who work together at the same office.
Because it causes a domino effect, kindness is a wave that never stops. It only needs one person to initiate it. One simple act of kindness can have a cascading effect on an entire neighborhood. If everyone focuses on being nice, we are starting a change-making movement. Do you remember the adage, "Be the change you desire to see in the world"? That remark isn't just about transformation or about how one person can alter the course of the world. It's more significant than that; it has to do with a movement that can begin with only one purposeful good deed.
How To Be Kinder This season
- Try to speak as kindly and respectfully as possible
- Start your day on a positive note
- Hold the door for someone
- Compliment someone respectfully and sincerely.
- Offer help for everyday chores to elderly neighbors
- Take turns baking cookies for the office
- Keep a desk plant and care for it
- Give someone a hug
- Leave a note of appreciation for your co-worker
- Pay more attention to your friends and actually listen to them.
- Try to spend a little more quality time with your family
- Take time out to visit an estranged friend or family member
- Take a day off to do something you enjoy.
Being kind is rewarding but not very easy. If you happen to have time on your hands to spare and would like to be of more service to your community, we suggest taking up an online volunteering opportunity. Online volunteering is an act of kindness toward a community or organization serving the community. With the agility and flexibility, online volunteering offers, you will be able to help and be associated with nonprofit organizations from around the world through the internet.
Online volunteering is generally skill-based. Chezuba is an online volunteering platform that has tied up with nonprofit organizations from around the world to help them meet their volunteering needs. With a myriad of skills and causes to choose from, you are sure to find a cause you would like to support and a skill you can contribute. Sign up as a volunteer today, you might just be helping someone in dire need.