Kindness. What a word, right? It feels heavy and light at the same time. Stuffed with meaning and yet completely clear. The literal definition is "the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate." The definition itself feels like home. It's full of other warm and familiar words that push positivity above everything else. Why does something so elementary sometimes feel so forgotten.
Lucky for us, you and I, we were familiarized with this word and it's definition in the beginning stages of childhood. It is introduced at such a young age because it is a fundamental and necessary ingredient in the soil used for growing (what we believe to be) good humans. We are given this seed to plant in the back of our young minds in hopes that this quality will stand as one of the the roots to our future humanity. We even cut the frills down to two words: be kind. Those two words click at any age. We grow into sprouts from this good human soil, making choices, some kind, some unkind but the definition stays the same -- simple and clean and yet sometimes missed.
If you are anything like me, it's easy to get wrapped up in the storm of every day emotions, activities, responsibilities, ups, downs, decisions and doubts, to the point of dizziness. I end up losing sight of that tiny, kind sprout that someone older and wiser planted at the root of my being years ago. The little sprout that is inherently good in any and all circumstances. When someone stomps on him, he forgives, he knows it wasn't on purpose. When something blocks his sunlight, he patiently waits, he knows the sun will come through and he will be warm again soon. It is this plainly good part of all of us that is always there but is still somehow overlooked in the heat of a moment. We lose our kindness and often act without thinking, respond without listening and take without asking.
I have come to realize that it isn't healthy to (mentally) beat myself or anyone else up when an unfavorable and unkind moment unfolds. It is healthy to acknowledge and accept that even though the kindness seed is planted in all of us, that doesn't make it always easy or instinctual. While the world is busy spinning, kindness isn't always the first response, it isn't always constant and it usually isn't the easiest option. We are human after all and being kind, to others and yourself, can often require something extra. A bit of extra thought, an extra moment, an extra nod. It takes being intentional, carefully choosing your words, choosing your actions, being generous, giving a compliment, making the time, being gracious, saying a thank you, taking a pause or accepting an apology and simply moving on.
Maybe kindness feels a bit forgotten or missed because in every instance where being kind is an option, the same holds true for being unkind. Unfortunately in some instances the unkind route seems easier and becomes the more frequented route. Instead of choosing that easier, potentially unkind, action or reaction take a moment, breathe and remember that tiny sprout. He's there, not pointing out your flaws. He's faintly reminding you that there is another way to respond here and almost always that moment will end the way you would hope.
Much like the rest of the world, kindness isn't black and white. We live in a world full of colorful people, situations and relationships that blend and smudge, allowing us the freedom to find new and creative ways to react using our own color wheels. If we choose our colors and our strokes carefully and intentionally we have the the ability to create a kinder world.