The Kindness Bug: Catch It and Pass It On

by: Joy Cagil

In a community we are affected by the words and actions of each other. Witnessing any act of kindness makes us feel good inside, and when we are having a less than desirable time, a kind word or gesture carries us through the rough spot.

Sometimes, kindness from others is so effective that not only it can carry a person through a day, a month, or a year, but through a lifetime. I’ll give an example. When I was eight years old and had just started writing, my uncle praised a tiny, trite, little girl poem I had scribbled on a piece of note-paper. He didn’t talk down at me or tried to flatter me by raising his voice higher as most adults do when they want to encourage children, but he said his words very seriously and in private. He didn’t tell me I’d be the next poet laureate or a famed writer, but he said what I had scribbled was good. Then he shook my hand to congratulate me. I was so happy, I was trembling inside; furthermore, I believed him for he was a serious man and a man of letters. Still I believe in his kindness. His kindness has carried me throughout my life, not only with writing, but also this is one of those memories I revert to when I need encouragement in anything.

Kindness not only gets us through a difficult situation but it is also contagious since human beings learn from each other. When we let another car pass in front of us on a busy road or let someone go ahead in a long line at the grocery store, we can be sure this kindness will be imitated by an observer if not by the person to whom we have shown kindness. Thus, if allowed to spread, a little kindness will build up to a better working, happier communities.

By kindness, I do not mean being superficially nice to others. Kindness is authentic and has to come from the authentic self. If a person lets his own family starve to send food to strays in a distant place, that won’t be kindness but a sort of showing off or a fooling of one’s own self. Neither is it kindness to tell a tone-deaf piano player he is the next Arthur Rubinstein.

One cannot invent kind acts by searching for people to be kind to or by brainstorming ideas about kindness. Life is all around us and all life needs kindness. If we go around life normally, we will meet many who may need something we can do. Most of the time, it takes just a tiny word, a scribbled line of thought, an act of sympathy, a smile or a nod in the right time and place to bring sunshine to the life of another person.

Kindness requires empathy, insight to the situation, and foresight for the future. As human beings, all of us possess these attributes inside ourselves since we live in this world and experience similar things, unless these assets were bleached out of us by hard knocks. Also, sometimes, we stop being kind because we find so much need in the world and we feel helpless to reach everyone, but then, who says we have to reach everyone? One tiny act, helping just one person will help change the minds of a few others and eventually the society in general.

If we believe in kindness, we will witness kindness, because kindness is creative and when it creates, it re-creates. In addition, whether we are receiving or giving kindness, we feel great inside ourselves.

Some kind acts are not the acts of sissies; they take toughness. Sometimes we need to be tough to be kind because true kindness exposes us. When others are laughing and sneering at us because we are out there helping someone, we need to be tough not to mind their way of being. We also need to stay unmoved when our kind acts are refused rudely.

Kindness takes courage. Courageous people perform acts of kindness without giving importance to a probable rejection or even an attack of some kind since kindness may paint us as being vulnerable in others’ eyes. For example, some of us may need to make a kind yet tough decision for an elderly person who needs help that can only be given to him in an institutional setting. Kindness is not in giving in to a person but doing the right thing for him.

We are not being kind to a wayward child if we do not let him see the consequences of his negative behavior. Neither are we being kind to a patient if we let him get away with not taking a medication he badly needs.

Kindness has power with a hidden energy inside. As in everything, anything with power can be misused; if so, then that act cannot be considered a kindness. Sometimes kind acts are performed as a front for an ulterior motive. The true power of kindness is not pushing something over others, but creating beneficial, altruistic feelings inside people. Thus, a small act of genuine kindness is more effective than the big, phony one that flatters the donor who has a hidden motive or the forged one that is executed with a dubious end in mind.

Accepting kindness is also kindness. When we sense an act is positive, if we reject it, we are not being kind to the person granting it to us. Refusing kindness is like adding ice to a hot meal; it stops the flow in its tracks.

Kindness is a universal law. Kindness empowers us to know what is right and then to do it. Cliché though the saying might be, what goes around comes around.

May we all become brave enough to practice kindness all the time.

About The Author

Joy Cagil is an author on http://www.Writing.Com Her training is in foreign languages and linguistics. In her background are varied subjects such as psychology, mental health, and visual arts. Her portfolio can be found at http://www.Writing.Com/authors/joycag.

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