What Happened to Kindness?

kindnessBullying, violence, assault; these are all words we are too familiar with today. When did kindness become something we had to consciously think about? We are no longer kind to ourselves or others.

Everything is a competition, whether it is outwardly with others around us or within our minds comparing looks, successes or achievements. We have a desperate need to fit in and be liked and will go to any lengths to reach that. It brings out ugliness and we lose sight of the other person’s feelings and overall sense of humanity. We want to make ourselves feel better and fit in so we judge others on their looks; we make fun of them or shame them in some way.  So many high school students and even college students want so desperately to fit in and instead of recognizing they are all in the same situation, they bully and ridicule those that are not in their group.  Where is the kindness and compassion?  What happened to treating others as we would like to be treated? Has social media turned us into meanies because no one can see our faces?  Anyone who has been on the receiving end knows how devastating it can be when others say negative things about them.  Even for those who are on television and in films, women who are too heavy or too thin are humiliated. If they are not exactly “right” a shame explosion will break out on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter criticizing that celebrity with harsh negative words.

We want to be considered the best in all things; academically, socially, and athletically yet it can be pretty lonely once you reach the top.  People forget how to be happy for one another and celebrate others’ achievements as well as the efforts alone instead of the “wins”. We forget to help those who may be struggling and how even taking a moment of your time and listening or offering some assistance instead of judging makes all the difference to the person receiving it. It also makes the person on the giving end of kindness to feel good about themselves because they made someone else feel better.

This holiday season, let’s all start a bit of kindness.  You may not be close friends with someone or know them very well, but go out of your way to say something nice or complimentary without a motive behind it, just because you were being nice.  There is a new concept!  Every now and then we will see on the news or the internet that someone did an amazing random act of kindness.  They gave someone an extraordinarily large tip, or helped someone in need, or a child raised money for a charity or stood up for another student.  These acts are amazing and should be celebrated as well as made contagious.  In a world that can be so harsh and stressful to live in, we need to make more of an effort to be considerate, say nice things, and go out of our way to maintain patience and understanding in most circumstances.  We need to be kind instead of cruel, accepting instead of ostracizing and embracing of differences instead of shaming.  We would all be much happier and less stressed if we tried it!