The world is FULL of hurting people
Could showing kindness make an impact?
Every day on TheHopeLine, people respond to us, telling us about their burdens, sharing their depression, and expressing feelings of brokenness and deep loneliness. What can we do to impact their lives? I believe that a little kindness could go a long way because showing kindness gives others value.
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Here’s a glimpse at some of the comments we receive:
“I am bullied by my friends. They start teasing me spread fake things about me. My other classmates have good friends except me.” Amaya
“I remember from young on I was always obsessed with love. It was what I wanted more than anything in the world. I even subjected myself to a lot of bad treatment just to feel love. I've been used, abused, and mistreated by a lot of guys just to get it. Now I realize I brought it upon myself in some way.” Lindsey
“I hated myself for a while…I felt that I wasn’t worth anything and wondered why anyone would want to waste their time on me.” Betsy
“At least you have people that care and love you. I don't have that and never did. I actually do care bout others but I have not one person asking me if I'm ok. Never did.” – JK
“Living is hard, dying is simple and easy. And to die by my choice seems to be the only way. Nobody not one friend nor family to talk to.. I'v wasted years thinking somebody could help me. The more i realise i'm just alone the more evident it becomes i'm not meant to live this life. Everything seems so pointless being alive.” – Sane
Where Does It End?
I can’t take it all in without asking myself, why so much sadness? How and where does it end?
Mother Theresa, one of the modern day saints, said it well, “The world is lost for want of sweetness and kindness. Do not forget we need each other.” She spent her life on the streets of Calcutta, India, amongst the poor and orphans and she recognized that “The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”
So I wonder…what if we were just kinder to one another? Here’s my challenge:
We Need More Kindness
For just one day take your eyes off of your own problems and considered that you are surrounded by people with problems of their own. They may look like they have it together…but, likely, you look pretty good from the outside as well. It doesn’t mean they aren’t hurting. So what if, for this one day, you simply choose to be kind?
Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless. Mother Teresa
After years of talking to teens and young adults on the radio, I know this to be true…we are all desperate to be loved and accepted. I also know that when someone is treated with kindness and respect, they feel worthy and can hold their head a little higher. Whether you live in the slums of Calcutta, a ranch in Montana, small town Ireland, or the streets of Hong Kong, ALL of humanity wants to be seen and feel like they matter.
Sound too simple?
A Day of Choosing Kindness
I get that kindness won’t solve every problem, but let’s see what it could do.
There are a million ways to show kindness.
Today I encourage you to try this:
- Sit down with the girl who always eats alone and invite your friends to join you, rather than walk past her again.
- Tell your sister the shirt she stole from your closet looks nice on her rather than getting back at her for taking it without permission.
- Take 5 minutes of your time to call your friend who is going through a tough time. Don't keep putting it off.
- Make a point to encourage teammate who lost the game for you, rather than blaming them.
- Stop and say hi to the little kid on your block who sits outside by himself most days, rather than ignoring him.
Or how about this scenario:
Every morning when you wake up you have some choices to make. For example:
You could yell at your mom, flip off the driver who turned in front of you, ignore the person who sold you coffee, and give the cold shoulder to your friend who didn’t text you back.
You could hug your mom, wave at the person who turned in front of you, make eye-contact with the person who sold you coffee and wish them a good day, and forgive your friend for the oversight and ask how their night was.
A lot of it has to do with the impact our little choices have on others.
Here are some more simple ideas to consider:
Tell someone you like their sweater.
Compliment your boss or teacher.
Visit with your grandma.
Ask the gas station attendant how their day is going.
Help the person who dropped their groceries.
O.K. I’ll stop now. You get what I’m talking about.
Are you wondering what’s in it for you?
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Showing Kindness Makes You Happier
We are not on this planet alone….and when we care for each other our life takes on more meaning….more purpose…and quite honestly, more joy.
It is probably obvious to point out that after a day of purposefully showing kindness, the people around you feel better.
But here is the beauty of it all. How do you think you are feeling at the end of this day? Do you feel still feel angry, frustrated, hateful, etc.? Or do you actually feel encouraged, energized, inspired and hopeful yourself?
You get it, right? Kindness has rewards on both ends! Holding on to all the angst you feel and taking it out on others will NEVER make you happier. But making someone else’s day…that will always feel good.
In fact, this is proven by research. In a study published in the Journal of Social Psychology, people were asked to take a survey measuring how satisfied they were with life. Then they were divided into groups. One group was told to perform a daily act of kindness for 10 days, the other group was told nothing. After 10 days they filled out the satisfaction survey again. The group that practiced kindness had a significant boost in happiness. And this little experiment only lasted for 10 days!
Is it really that hard to choose kindness? Are you ready to give it a try?
Kindness is Not a New Idea
Obviously the idea of being kind is not new, but I feel like it gets forgotten along the way. We get too busy, and become too self-centered. We focus on our own stuff and neglect to take the time to pay attention to others.
Did you know that the Bible often talks about being kind? “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) and “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, “ (Colossians 3:12)
God is kind and He desires for His children to be an example of Him. God hates to see us hurting and wants to use His people on earth to spread love and joy by caring for others. He wants us to love others the way He loves us.
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I’ll leave you with this final quote from Mother Teresa.
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”