It’s been a rough few weeks for the world. We’ve watched the aftermath of atrocious acts of violence in multiple corners of the globe. We’ve seen millions of people feeling trapped in their own homes, afraid to go outside in towns that felt completely safe only hours before.
In a world where mass shootings and other acts of violence are increasingly common, we sometimes forget how to trust in the human capacity for good.
And understandably so. After all, our first instincts are to protect ourselves in the face of danger.
But in our quest to protect ourselves and our loved ones, we can sometimes forget that each one of us holds a powerful tool for healing and peace.
That tool is to simply be kind – at every possible opportunity.
I won’t claim that kindness will cure all of the world’s ills. As nice as that might sound, I really have zero expertise in such matters to make that kind of statement. But I do believe that being kind can make day-to-day life just a little easier for each of us. And when those acts of kindness are multiplied by millions of people across the world, who knows what kind of ripple effect they can have? Perhaps, over time, we might not choose hate or violence as a first resort – and instead choose them as a second or third resort. Progress is progress, right?
Kind acts do not have to be huge or widespread in nature. Kindness may simply mean choosing to help someone struggling to load something into their car. It may mean choosing to speak to your significant other more respectfully rather than vent in frustration about something he/she did. It may mean putting your phone down to give your child your undivided attention for ten minutes. It may mean choosing to get to know a person for who they genuinely are, rather than mentally labeling them by the racial/ethnic/sexual orientation category they fall into.
We all have to protect ourselves – that’s for absolute certain. But it’s possible that part of protecting ourselves is remembering the shared humanity that unites us all – and conveying that sense of unity to others through small-but-significant acts of kindness.