The Importance of Choosing Kindness

Looking back on it, I can’t even remember if there were any specific triggers of if it just was one of those weeks. One of those weeks, when you’re lacking in will and responsibility takes you places without much conviction or motivation. A week that spirals out of control and breaks into a really dark, no good, can’t-take-it-anymore kind of mood.

I do remember that it didn’t matter where I went or who I spent my time with, I just didn’t want to be there. But I didn’t really want to be left with myself either, which I guess explains why I decided to subject the world to my emotional instability and leave the safety of my duvet-made cocoon.

Unexpected Acts of Kindness

Not surprisingly, the outside world felt impossible to deal with. It annoyed me. The universe was out to get me, and it wasn’t long before I gave up on being outside and headed back home – feeling a little bit defeated and fed up.

When I got back, I found eight colored ballpoint pens I had been sighing over a few weeks before while watching TV with my roommate. They weren’t magic pens. They didn’t fix what was wrong. However, they did impose a break on all that self-loathing. Made me reassess and work on being kinder to myself. It made me feel appreciated when just moments before, that had seemed impossible.

I know they have no idea of how meaningful that small gesture was to me and maybe they don’t need to know. Not as long as they continue to be the sort of person who takes a pause and does something for someone else just for the sake of kindness.

Be a rainbow…

People tend to underestimate kindness. We misjudge how valuable a small act of compassion can be and how much of a difference it can make to someone who’s having a rough time.

Maya Angelou famously spoke about this during her appearance on “Oprah’s Master Class” in 2011. Dr. Angelou explained that while she’d had many clouds in her life, she’d also been blessed with rainbows. That anyone who had ever been kind, she took with her always. So that she’d never feel she had no help getting where she was.

“And the thing to do it seems to me is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud,” the legendary poet suggested. “Somebody who may not look like you, may not call God the same name you call God if they call God at all. You see? And may not eat the same dishes prepared the way you do. May not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody. That’s what I think”.

The Science of Kindness

According to Harvard Medical School, kindness creates a lasting effect on people. Just like we carry some of the most painful moments in life with shocking clarity, the times when someone showed us tenderness stick with us. They give us strength and inspiration to pay it forward.

Also? Kindness makes us happy. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found that performing acts of kindness improve our mood. In addition to that, others also seem to believe that being compassionate helps decrease stress, anxiety, depression and even lower blood pressure.

Mostly though, that small gesture can be an enormous difference to someone who’s been suffering in silence. Someone who needed a break from a world that doesn’t always choose kindness. A world that could definitely benefit from us being a little more considerate of each other.


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