The world needs more kindness. The live action Cinderella movie had the inspiring theme, “Have Courage and Be Kind”. That message struck me as profoundly important, and I pondered for a long while about what it meant to be kind. The first question that I asked myself was if there was a difference between being nice and being kind.
I believe that there is absolutely a difference between the two. An easy way to understand what it means to be kind is to think of the kindest person you know and think about what they do to show that kindness. The most important word in the previous sentence was “do”. I believe that being kind requires action while being nice doesn’t necessarily require any action. Here are a couple of examples:
A nice person doesn’t bully anyone, but a kind person would defend those getting bullied.
A nice person doesn’t make fun of those sitting alone, but a kind person invites them to join their table.
A nice person doesn’t speak disparagingly of others while playing sports, but a kind person praises their opponent on a good shot.
A kind person occasionally buys two milk shakes instead of one, so they can give one to a friend.
A kind person remembers names, mourns with those who mourn, writes thank you notes, befriends their enemies, and listens. It is action, and it isn’t always easy.
The golden rule sums it up well: “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” In my teenage years, I had misinterpreted that rule. I had understood it as “Don’t do unto others as you wouldn’t have done unto you.” I would think “okay, I wouldn’t want someone to hit me, so I won’t hit them.” That’s not what the rule says though. It is a principle of action and not inaction. If I would love for someone to serve me in a specific way, I should go and do it for them.
Believe is selling wristbands that have the word, “Believe”inscribed on them. I wear them, and I am now using them as a reminder to spread kindness in the world. There is so much negativity and hate that it is more essential than ever to spread love. I suggest finding a way to remind yourself to do that as well. You can be nice unintentionally, but you have to be intentional to be kind.
A recent example of kindness I observed in my friend demonstrates how intentional we must be to be kind. Through previous conversations with my friend, I knew being kind was something that he was focusing on. We were spending some time with a group of friends and he - being an excellent magician - started to do a magic trick. Some of our friends had brought another friend along whom we didn't know. This new friend - perhaps out of a desire for more attention - started to intentionally disrupt my friend's trick. I started feeling rather annoyed and I could tell my friend was frustrated as well. Instead of giving into that frustration though, my friend turned to him and said good-naturedly, "Hey man. I am so glad that you came here tonight! Why don't you tell me more about yourself?" The situation immediately diffused, and they began to have a conversation without any tension. I was very impressed with my friend. It reminded me of Mark Twain's famous quote, "The only safe and sure way to destroy your enemy is to make him your friend."
If my friend only intended to be nice, he more than likely would have just ignored the disrupter. That is better than lashing out in anger; however, my friend was more than nice. He was kind. That is what I am striving to be, and the world needs more of that.
Here at Believe, we are working together to spread goodness in the world. We believe that together we can create more goodness and learn to be kinder than we would alone. We would love for you to join us as we make the world a better place.