A little deviation from my usual posts about creativity. Hope you don’t mind.
Kindness has been on my mind lately, for somewhat obvious reasons. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m limiting my exposure to the daily news. Too much bad news, frustrating news, anger-inducing news. In my opinion, most of it stems from a lack of kindness.
And to clarify, “kindness” isn’t just being nice to someone. I mean it in a broader way, encompassing empathy, selflessness, common sense. There seems to be a lack of all these things lately. Well, it’s been lacking for a while, but I think this pandemic has made it more apparent to me.
I think part of the problem lies in selfishness. Too many people think only of themselves. I mean, I get it, sort of. We’re all the main characters in our personal stories. Everyone else is a supporting character. But just like in a work of fiction, actions have repercussions. One person refusing to cover their sneeze because it’s “their right to do so” means that other people, who don’t have a say, get potentially sprayed with germs. The sneezer will probably argue that they don’t care, it doesn’t affect them…and that’s so terribly sad to me.
It makes me think of people who are adamantly opposed to something, like marriage equality. You’ll see a politician argue that it shouldn’t be legalized, that it’s against their beliefs or some such nonsense, but when their own son or daughter come out as LGBTQ, then they suddenly change their stance. Because it affects them directly.
It’s a shame we have to come to that point to get someone’s attention. Why is that? Why are people so short-sighted? Sure, don’t cover your sneeze because it’s your right, and yeah, maybe you don’t get sick. But maybe you spread those germs to someone else who does get sick, and they spread it to someone else, and a chain reaction occurs that ends up getting your mother or father sick, or maybe your children, or your grandparents.
People don’t think about the repercussions of their actions. Everything we do, no matter how small, has a ripple effect the world. Like chaos theory claims, butterflies flapping their wings over the Indian Ocean can start a ripple effect that ends up triggering a hurricane in the Atlantic.
But you know, the same can be done with kindness. Imagine doing something nice for a stranger, a random act, and it causes that person to do something nice for someone else, and that ripple kicks in and suddenly there’s a wave of kindness spreading out with you at the center.
Doesn’t that sound fantastic?
Give it a try. Do something nice for someone, preferably someone you don’t know. Hold a door for someone. Compliment a woman’s dress or a guy’s pair of shoes. Hell, even a simple smile can change someone’s day.
Be kind. It might help to change the world.