The Odessa Record -

Just one thing a day; is it that simple?

 


I watched a news segment a week or so ago. When it was over, I remember sitting there shaking my head in amazement at what I had seen, while tears were streaming down my face. I cannot tell you the specific reason I was crying, but I can tell you they weren’t tears of joy.

I have not been able to shake the overwhelming feeling of sadness that came over me that day, because the segment could easily have (turned out differently)been a different scenario it just would have taken a little kindness.

Every day we (immerse ourselves more and more deeply) sink deeper and deeper into technology. With our iPods and iPads, cellular phones and head phones, we also withdraw more and more deeply into ourselves. We look up and around less often, communicate verbally less often and listen to each other – not hearing I mean listening to each other less and less. We are becoming more and more antisocial and I fear the result of this in the near future could be potentially catastrophic.

As we focus more inward instead of outward, over time we are interacting less and less with people on a face-to-face basis. Our social skills are becoming less necessary. Therefore, we are losing them. Instead of looking up and looking around, we are focused on social media, texting and instant messaging. It’s possible that eventually we could lose the ability to recognize a person in need.

We avoid social situations to avoid feeling awkward and end up filling the void left over by getting into the world of on-line gaming, or becoming involved in Facebook drama, or even starting a blog instead of taking a risk by stepping out into the world and facing our issues head on.

As we practice this way of life more and more, our children are watching and learning every bit of it. So by the time they have their own children (your grandchildren, by the way), they could potentially lack the ability to feel compassion due to lack of face-to-face social interactions.

Kindness is considered one of the greatest virtues a person can possess, but I see it becoming an increasingly rare trait that could soon possibly be near extinct.

The Merriam-Webster definition of kindness reads: “The quality or state of being gentle and considerate.” Wikipedia says: “A behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition and a concern for others.” Synonyms for kindness are: kindliness, kindheartedness, warmheartedness, affection, warmth, gentleness, concern, care, selflessness, consideration and compassion.

Many people often mistake niceness with kindness. While they have many of the same characteristics, they are two very different things.

Kindness is based on your own ethics, values and beliefs.

Niceness is based on how others see you.

Being kind does not necessarily mean being nice. Kindness is from the heart, with only good intentions in mind. Although honesty may not be what the person wants to hear and may result in hurt feelings, it is still meant to be for the betterment of the person’s future. It’s honest and only for the long-term good. Being kind means being honest but in a way that is not purposely mean or spiteful.

If there were no more or very little kindness, what would this world come to? Kindness is imperative in so may ways. Imagine a place where no one recognized a person in need, a door held open, for example, or help with a package, or to have someone simply sit and be there so they aren’t alone.

If we lose kindness, could we also eventually lose love?

Without kindness, we are left with the opposite of kindness, some of which are: Hatred, hostility, indecency, cruelty, meanness, intolerance, barbarousness, animosity, indifference and mercilessness.

That doesn’t sound like the kind of world I myself would want to live in.

Kindness is a powerful thing and it is said one small change can have an enormous impact on daily life. A smile and sincere compliment can change a person’s entire day for the better. A simple sincere comment could be the ray of light for someone that changes what would have otherwise been a miserable day.

So, for everyone reading this, I would like to challenge you to “Practice Kindness.” Let’s try to save the world we have and make it a better place. Make someone’s day by giving them a compliment and truly meaning it. Help put someone’s groceries in their car, hold a screaming baby so the frazzled mom can search for the pacifier – small acts that to some people aren’t so small, just what was desperately needed at that point in time.

Habits are created from repetition, so let’s try to make kindness a habit.

Some easy ways to practice kindness are:

1. Find something nice to say to everyone you speak to.

2. Compliment strangers.

3. Say “Thank you” to all who serve you.

4. Forgive.

5. Volunteer.

6. Let another go ahead of you.

7. Hold the door for someone.

8. Pay someone’s change if they are short at the check-out.

9. Buy coffee for the car behind you at the coffee stand.

10. Express gratitude.

So go out and practice kindness. Brighten someone’s day. Make kindness a habit and joy contagious.

Remember, there is no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. In the end, all that really matters is, “How did you love?”

 

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