Maybe you’ve noticed that our behavior toward and with each other has taken a nosedive during the last few years. It’s OK now to publicly call people names, degrade them, make fun of them, and bully them. But we know that’s not really OK, and that we really can be kind, right, women of experience?
And we’re not even wearing COVID-19 masks anymore—that prompted another litany of contrary behavior examples.
Some call it antisocial behavior, but I think it’s just “bad” behavior. From Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars, to passengers berating and punching airline employees, to more overt flipping off and yelling when you rightfully pull into a parking spot that someone else would really like to have. That can even get you shot.
Servers at McDonald’s get drinks thrown at them. Patients erupt at nurses, some threatening to harm or kill the healthcare providers, and teachers break up fights between antagonistic students who’ve “lost it.” Parents riot at schoolboard meetings. Then there are rising murder, burglary, and car theft rates. Oh, and cruelty to animals abounds.
Science Sez’ Kindness Works
For the sake of my own sanity, I won’t get into political division and violence, which I don’t even seem to remember seven or eight years ago—not at the current extreme level, anyway. Who started this? Wait. Don’t answer that…
Kindness helps keep relationships strong and motivates cooperation and trust in society. Here’s to more!
Research also shows that performing acts of kindness boosts happiness and well-being. Separately, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation notes that doing so lowers blood pressure and reduces depression. And there’s much more in the scientific literature that corroborates the awesomeness of kindness.
Get Back What You Give and Be Kind
Mick Jagger sings, “You can’t always get what you want,” and that’s something we all learn about as children, as tough as it is to accept. It’s a principle we need to carry with us as adults, as we concurrently persevere to try to achieve our goals and objectives. No need to get nasty when we’re disappointed.
I’ve been thinking about that “turn the other cheek” mantra and about how I can be kind. I’m not an unkind person with my actions, as my friends and family would attest, but I do carry some anger around because of others’ troubling comments or actions. And with all the negativity in news, 24/7, that can make us agitated, depress and angry, as I discuss in this Mind Your Body blog.
Kindness Tips You Can Use
I’m trying to follow these tips, even when it’s admittedly very hard.
- Don’t go there: When I think about others and I “might” think of them as being “x” or “y,” I try to stop my thinking…Right. There. This takes some practice, just as meditation does. It’s doable.
- Try to be objective: As a journalist, I know that we don’t always get all the accurate information we need to interpret a story or make a decision. Specifically, certain news outlets “slant stories” a certain way, which may leave out a lot that we need to know. I think, “Well, maybe I don’t know everything about this that I need to,” cognizant that it’s easy to be convinced otherwise and have a reaction. With media bombardment 24/7, this one is a toughie.
- Avoid negativity around you: Maybe someone is just plain negative, and that toxicity permeates your space. Walk away, like, physically. It’s your right. You don’t need this. Neither do I.
- Do a kind thing: Say something nice to someone who ignores you or appears not to want to speak to you. (I tried this recently. It works!) A compliment is a good starter, as is understanding that everyone—no matter how rich or famous—has “stuff” that bothers or saddens them. Show a little empathy, even if it’s super-hard, and the rewards will come back to you.
Finally, why don’t we all just try a little more kindness? Well, if everyone can’t be kind, you and I can. The Golden Rule, as venerable as it is, has it right: Do unto others…and see what happens.
Kinda’ cool, this kindness thing.