One thing I've been noticing as I've been out and about, an uptick if you will: People are kinder.
And, interestingly I'm not the only one in my circle noticing this. More than a few have mentioned it in some form as well. This, while so much divisiveness permeates the air around us. A swell is taking place. A swell of kindness.
A kind word in the elevator. People taking their time to lend a hand. Or, waiting patiently in line while encouraging someone else to go first, whether it's at a restaurant or in traffic. And, it's not just words, but kinder expressions, kinder eyes. Simple smiles.
There's a subtle, larger effort being expressed. A yearning for a gentler nature being embodied.
Whatever it's been, it's been palpable. Have you noticed it?
In fact, if you Google that particular hashtag, #KindnessMatters, there's a lovely slew of initiatives and websites trumpeting the power and longevity of kindness. There were 463,000 results in .58 seconds. Some offer 30-day challenges, others inspiring stories, still others longterm initiatives with real, positive effects, changes made, lives improved..
It could be what matters most. Kindness.
It may seem trite to say this, but it gives me hope. And, it raises a bigger hope that people can and will settle into their natural states of being, that of soulful, loving, yearning creatures. Maybe a bit of a pipe dream, but there's a swell that I think is worth noting, and celebrating.
Kindness provides a much needed and solid footing, a foundation from which to meet and greet the less-than-kind assaults that seem to drag down the ether, to stench the air we, at times, feel forced to breathe.
Kindness is the air freshener.
Kindness is the helium that will raise the otherwise heavy, negative energies; that will raise the ether, the very consciousness of society.
Kindness is love, understanding and compassion in action.
One might think of being kind as being a pushover. I would posit it's just the opposite. Kindness is a force, an essence and intention that elevates the conversation, the negotiation, the deal.
Kindness weeds out the petty, frankly eating the petty for lunch along with a nice, crisp Rosé or meaty Cab. I jest, but the phrase, "kill them with kindness" does come to mind. The term "kill them with kindness" sparks back to the 1500's, when it referred to a mother ape who hugged her babies so hard she, well, killed them. Okay, let's not go there.
Miriam defines this phrase as "to cause discomfort to someone by treating him or her in a way that is extremely kind or helpful. Instead of returning the insult, you might try killing them with kindness."
Contemporary useful applications of this notion suggest this: Utilize kindness as a tool to diminish or diffuse (kill) the negativity, rudeness, pettiness or hate of the situation. So that eventually, the person(s) has the choice to align with the kindness, that which is innate within his or herself. A choice to situate with their own better angels. If they don't make that choice, then you have the choice to deal with it or move on.
Kindness in its authenticity, is true power.
Kindness is a choice. While it's true some people seem to have more of an easy kindness about them, we all have it in us, and we all can make the choice to be kind.
I recently saw the musical, "Come From Away," set in the week following 9/11. It tells the true story of what happened when 38 planes were ordered to land outside the small Newfoundland town of Gander. 7,000 scared and confused passengers descended on the town. "Cultures clashed and tensions were high," but the townspeople took on the arduous task of caring for them, figuring it out as they went along. What rose like heat from this story was the magnitude of kindness that bolstered them all. The depth of their humanity brought us all to tears.
Kindness. Kindness transcends labels. And, titles. And, status. It is an equalizer, second to none.
Kindness is contagious and spreads like wildfire.
That's why I'm thinking kindness could be what matters most. So, perhaps a leading question to ask ourselves whenever we have any type of interaction: how would kindness begin this? Or respond?
Or simply utter the mantra #KindnessMatters. It really kinda does.