How kind are you? What about the world around you? When did someone last float a little kindness your way?
Kindness is becoming one of those trendy buzzwords, isn’t it? It’s popping up on T-shirts all over the place – hell, I even have one with the word marked out in sign language, just in case the word itself doesn’t leap out with enough volume!
Most recently, Pink (the Grammy-winning singer, not me!) dropped that quote out as part of her People’s Choice Awards acceptance speech.
She said: “Kindness today is an act of rebellion. There are people who don’t have what you have, help them get it.
“There is a planet that needs help, it feels good to help. Stop fighting each other and help each other. Get together with your friends and change the f—ing world.”
Hustle and grind
It wasn’t the first time I’d heard kindness linked to rebellion. Honestly, I’ve said something similar myself, many times.
In our modern world where we’re expected to hustle and grind, where overworking, stress and exhaustion are almost seen as status symbols, one of the best ways we can stand against the bullshit and break that mould is by showing a little kindness – to ourselves AND others.
In fact, let’s go all out and add a bit of compassion into the mix too.
Kindness and compassion make an amazing double act. All power to them and to all of you making them bigger!
The label game
In this world, we’re becoming more and more fractured and divided.
We’re using labels for everything: you’re left or right of the political divide, white, brown or black, L, G, B, T, Q or any one of about eleventy-twelve ‘identifiers’ we’ve carved out for anyone who doesn’t fit the ‘heteronormative’ box.
We’re pro-guns, or against guns, freedom of choice or anti-abortionist, pro trophy hunting or save the animals, terrorist or sympathiser, rich or poor, fat or thin, athletic or lazy.
Over here in the UK, we’re also a ‘remoaner’ or a ‘Brexiteer’.
WTF is it with all these labels? Can’t we just be human beings?
I get that we need to demonstrate our beliefs and stand by those from time to time, but the trouble with so many labels is that it becomes über easy to dehumanise our fellow people.
Instead of being equal human beings with differing views, we become polarised, warring parties, each convinced our way is the only valid option.
Instead of being left or right of the political spectrum, we become fascists or loony lefties.
Instead of being pro- or anti-hunting, we become evil murderers or crazy, hippy schmucks.
Instead of being for, or against Brexit, we become ignorant, racist xenophobes, or stupid, scared cowards with no pride in our home country.
I could go on. You could probably come up with a few examples of your own. You’ve probably ranted about people with the opposite viewpoint to your own and used a few expletives.
It’s easy when they’re not ‘real’ people and merely figureheads, isn’t it?
Windows to the soul
I always remember my mother commenting about war, and about the difference between being face to face with another fighter years ago, in hand-to-hand combat, and being miles away from your ‘enemy’ with a button to press today.
It oversimplifies things, I know, but there’s a valid point in there somewhere. There’s a big difference between looking into someone’s eyes – the windows to the soul – being close enough to feel their breath on your face, and striking down from afar.
For me, it’s a similar story with all this division, all the polarisation – shadow arrows fired at another person without knowing the first thing about them, aside from them daring to not share your opinion.
Anger and misunderstanding, coupled with dehumanisation, can lead to disastrous consequences. History shows us this time and time again.
Which brings me back to kindness and why we need more of it.
Open and honest
Not too long ago, I shared an open, honest and placid conversation with a woman who held totally different views to my own on Brexit and fox hunting – and probably many other topics as well.
We both talked, with open minds and open hearts and – importantly – without trying to change one another’s viewpoint.
We both learned something that day – not only issues we hadn’t even considered, but that the power of open discussion and a willingness to explore a different viewpoint really could be good for the soul.
Ready to be a rebel?
If we’re kinder to ourselves, we might not end up carrying so much anger and hatred around with us – it doesn’t serve any of us to be carrying poison in our hearts.
If we’re kinder to others, we might just be able to get a little more insight and understanding into what makes them tick. We might benefit from the energetic feedback of creating a kindness loop too – I’m a big believer in us getting back a dose of whatever we send out.
If we all make an effort to be kinder to one another, maybe we could find some middle ground and even learn something.
At the very least, if we started putting more emphasis on kindness and less on divisions, we might feel better about ourselves.
Who’s with me? Let’s start that kindness rebellion.
Until next time,