Kindness. To be kind. It’s such a gentle and somewhat petite word, but it is also world changing. Imagine that, something delicate and small having a cosmic influence. In a world that is seemingly getting colder, harsher, and falling into a “bad bitch” persona, how can a little eight-letter word really make some or any difference?  Where political protesting for equality and acceptance involves giving hatred and distain to those opposing. We really believe that if we are fighting for acceptance and kindness, we can throw stones at the people we are fighting against, and that magically makes us better than the ideas and beliefs we are opposed to. Or, in a world where the judgement of those around us becomes so familiar it is second nature.

I’ve always been an advocate for kindness, empathy. As an office, we recently had the pleasure of having Rob Redenbach come in to speak to us about leadership. His views and approach to the world forced us to question our own relationship with people both personal and professional. At the beginning of the session, he asked us, “What do we think is the most important quality of a leader?” We all had to get up, write a quality and give an example from our own lives of why we think the quality was most important. Sacrifice, determination, and resilience were all mentioned. The power and ruthlessness of these formidable qualities all make sense in our quest to not only be a good leader but to get through life successfully. That to succeed we must be tough as nails, a lion amongst gazelles. If that is so, how does a tiny little word, standing alone in the big scary world make any difference? Rob stood up in front of all of us and spoke of the power of kindness, empathy. Hand to my heart, never has the fog cleared and the sun shone through as though the universe was opening up to us, as clearly as it did that Tuesday morning listening to Rob.

Kindness has a soft and uplifting skin, heartening, and comforting to the touch, and at the core of this incandescent quality, is an earth creating iron. The power of kindness is overlooked because it is harder to achieve than mercilessness. The vulnerability of kindness is strong enough to break down barriers, uplift the most heartbroken of us and bring us together in solidarity to create a world of people who will live a life more transcendent than we can even imagine.

The covid lockdowns lit the match for kindness. Sure, it started with fear and greed, let’s not forget the World War three toilet paper debacle. However, almost simultaneously, the acrimony took a seat and random and beautiful acts of kindness grew from the ground and spread like a wildfire. We saw connection through disconnection. Support for our fellow earthlings and most importantly we saw effort placed upon kindness towards ourselves. These lockdowns emphasised the fact that while there is pain, hatred and fear in the world, there is also immense generosity, benevolence, and love. These little ripples that begun in an ever so slight manner went on to become waves of kindness and community that spread from one side of the world to the other. If that isn’t power than I don’t know what is. Kindness, a simple action that once given, has a return of three times what it did alone and can make you believe that you are good enough to achieve anything; are good enough for what you want.

So, we have a superpower at our disposal, yet we aren’t using it. Why is this? There is a softness that comes with kindness, and this softness is enormously foreign to us because we are deficient in self-kindness. How can we really give kindness to the world if we cannot give it to ourselves? Seeing as we are a part of the world, one cannot exist with the other. We can only truly be kind to others as much as we are kind to ourselves.

If we are quick to shower those, we love with unconditional kindness then why do we seem to be hesitant to treat ourselves with that same warmth. Our busyness, so much of what we think and say, our dreams that drive us and keeps us from slowing down and connecting with others, all stems from a sense that we are not already good enough. Not beautiful enough. No smart enough. Not funny enough. Not successful enough. Not worthy. So, we buy nicer clothes, document our outings and try and live up to the Instagram “models”, all in the efforts to fix ourselves so that we are worthy of love.

But the catch is this. You are not broken. Despite your history and what has been thrown to break you, you are not broken. And any person or instagram influencer that profits over making you think that you are, is taking the easy option of callousness. Choosing to steer clear of the hardship that comes from being vulnerable, the strength from being kind. We can say that it’s the worlds’ fault, but really, it’s not the whole world that makes us cruel and closed off, it’s the harshness of other people. While we can’t change the moments that have brought us to where we are, we can change how we choose to proceed from here, as challenging as it may be. It is difficult and far easier to succumb to deception and cruelty, I mean after all, that is the society we live in. People are able to make a financial and egotistical profit from Instagram for a reason. But take the challenge. We are strong enough to be kind, even if we don’t believe we are, even if we take one step forward and five steps back.

Out of all that I’ve noticed, there is this. That at our core, we all have a natural tendency for kindness. We are quick to squash that light because kindness is soft, and we live in a society that tells us that being soft will get you nowhere. And maybe so, maybe being soft will lead us to nowhere, but where is nowhere? What is nowhere? Wherever and whatever nowhere is, perhaps being nowhere with kindness in our life is greater than being somewhere with callousness.

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