By Hannah Dale, Second Year, English
The Croft Magazine // Today, the 13th of November, is World Kindness day. Hannah talks through her feelings surrounding the idea of 'kindness' and how to feel kindness and hope, when the world may feel cruel.
In today’s society, kindness is widely regarded as doing something for somebody else, that doesn’t benefit you. However, kindness is more nuanced than that. Defined as: "the quality of being friendly, generous, and considered to be kind to others and kind to yourself, as well as being kind to the environment, or an animal". Kindness usually comes in the form of an action; such as giving money to charity or buying flowers for someone you love. Yet, Kindness can be anything you want. kindness can be as simple as considering somebody else’s emotions in the room when talking about a topic that may be difficult for them; rather than speaking regardless of other people’s emotions.
I think it’s important to remember and recognise when you’re being kind to people, as being kind to others will innately make you kinder to yourself. That isn’t selfish, despite the idea that being kind for self-gratification is selfish. If you’re doing something to make the world a better place, including being kind to yourself, you are still doing that kind thing, regardless if your intentions aren’t selfless. Physically noting down the kind things you do in the day, whether it be big or small actions, like just opening the door for someone, is a positive experience. It will not only benefit your well-being but those around you as you become increasingly motivated by the difference you see in the world.
In our culture today, it’s easy to believe that people are inherently evil and that there is no kindness in the world. However, World Kindness Day demonstrates that people want to change the world and want to project positive energy around them. By reading this article, you are choosing a kind action for yourself and others and striving to become more self-aware about what happiness may mean to you to utilise it daily. You have to be the change you want to see in the world, and it is easy to complain about the lives we lead without constantly striving to improve them, therefore creating a sense of impending doom onto yourself!
Kindness involves choice, and it is an active role we have to take to ensure we are choosing it, extending ourselves from the everyday monotony of neglecting ourselves and others to the realm of hard work. Being kind should be a choice you purposely commit to doing. Whether that be a mental or physical goal because it will remind you of how it will improve the world you live in and improve yourself. When you explore the ways you can perform kindness, it allows you to realise the goodness in the everyday actions of others. You begin identifying things you may have taken for granted, like taking the long way home so you can spend a few extra minutes with your friend.
It is essential to consider what you define as kindness. There are always actions we wish people would do for us; when you perform these actions for others you can experience the joy they experience. Seeing others happy due to your actions is bound to also make you feel happy too. Although kindness uplifts those in need, it is also essential to encourage those around you who may not externally show that need support. You never know when someone needs a little kindness. Who knows, you may be providing a little light in someone's darkness.
All in all, kindness is messy, it is brave, and vulnerable. It isn't always easy to be kind. But it is so, so worth it. So today, on World Kindness day, let's all try and be a little kinder to strangers on the street, and most importantly: be kinder to ourselves.
Featured image: Epigram / Emily Fromant