Have you ever truly considered the raw power of kindness?
Kindness is not something that we traditionally view as “powerful,” but just think about it for a second. The last time someone complimented you offhand, didn’t it make your whole day just a little better? Haven’t you felt your mood instantly lift when someone goes out of their way to do something nice for you?
Oftentimes, kindness is more powerful than our own negative emotions. Kindness fights sadness and battles anger. And many times, it wins.
That’s why it’s so important to be kind.
I have this really potent memory from college. It was my sophomore year and I was eating lunch on my own in the caf. Out of nowhere, a couple of people walked up to my table. They were classmates from my Brit Lit class (one of the classes I took to try and fulfil my English minor) and while we weren’t really more than acquaintances, I always had fun talking to them in class and nerding out about Romantic British authors. They asked me why I was sitting by myself and insisted that I join them at a table full of other people from the class. Before I could even answer, they grabbed my plate and drink and moved it to their table. Laughing, I followed them (they had taken my lunch captive, after all) and had the absolute best lunch as I joked and chatted with them. They were all pretty close friends, as they were all English majors and had most of the same classes, but at that lunch, I didn’t feel anything like an outsider. They made me feel like I was a part of the family.
This didn’t strike me until years later, but do you know what it cost them to invite me over to their table? Absolutely nothing. And yet that simple action made my day and the memory still makes me smile now.
One more story: one of my best friends from elementary school who I haven’t talked to in years messaged me on Facebook the other day. She related an instance from fifth grade (fifth grade!!!) when I had encouraged her during a presentation to the class and she told me that she still thinks about it sometimes, as my help meant a lot to her. That hit me so hard. I didn’t even remember the situation she was talking about! And yet the memory still touches her, so much so that she reached out to tell me about it and thanked me for what I did all those years ago.
Reading that message meant a lot to me because my personal mission in life is simply to love people. If I can leave any legacy, that’s the one that I choose. I want to leave people with memories that make them smile and write stories that cause laughter and enjoyment. My new favourite quote is “We measure our lives in love,” because I think it matches up so well with Jesus’ reply when a Pharisee asks him what the greatest commandment is:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”Matthew 22: 37-40 ESV
Jesus doesn’t say that we should love sometimes. He says it’s a commandment to love. Why? Because imagine how much better the world would be if everyone loved each other! The simplest way to love is just to be kind. Most of the time it won’t cost you a single thing.
So go ahead and wield one of the greatest powers in the universe today. Show someone kindness, whether it be someone close to you or a complete stranger. Just a simple, heartfelt compliment will make anyone’s day.
As Cinderella once said, all we need to do is “have courage and be kind.” 🙂