Kindness matters. In fact, it may be the only thing that really does. In today’s world, kindness is one of the things we appreciate most, yet it oft time remains one of our least shared attributes. We buy books about sharing random acts of kindness, yet cut someone off in traffic. We are kind with our friends, yet quick tempered with strangers. We say nice things to one another, yet gossip behind someone else’s back. We’ve learned to compartmentalize our kindness rather than make it a way of life.
The vast majority of us believe in God and follow one religion or another, yet still find it easy to be unkind to one another. We label ourselves as Christian, Muslim, Jewish or whatever, yet go against the very tenants of the religion be being mean to one another. We pray for peace yet don’t act peaceful. We pray for kindness and act selfish. What will it take for us to live what we pray?
I believe it’s a conscious choice we get to make each day to JUST BE KIND!
If you want someone to show kindness to you, be kind to others. If you want someone to be a friend, first be a friend to others. If you want others to say good things about you, say good things about others. Wish for others what you wish for yourself.
What would the world look like if kindness were our default mode? Imagine politicians who could only say kind things about one another. Imagine divorce court where only good things could be said about the other person. Imagine sharing freely, knowing there is enough for everyone. When will the time come that we make kindness our default mode? What will it take?
Kindness starts with us, in this very moment. Kindness is meant to be shared indiscriminately and doesn’t mean anything until we’re kind to everyone.
For what is kindness, but an expression of love in action? Kindness is treating others how you want to be treated, with care, respect, compassion and love, in thought, spoken word and action. Kindness is speaking up to right a wrong and remaining quiet when you have nothing nice to say. It is reaching out to another without being asked, showing empathy, sharing our humanity, offering charity and not always having the need to be right.
Technically defined as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate, kindness is the common thread of all religions and does not acknowledge the artificial social, economic, and religious barriers we create, but rather, kindness reaches out with love to touch the lives of others and makes a tangible difference.
For each religion, the words may be different but the core belief is the same…
Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself. – Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings
Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. – The Buddha, Udana-Varga 5.18
In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. – Jesus, Matthew 7:12
One word which sums up the basis of all good conduct….loving-kindness. Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself. – Confucius, Analects 15.23
This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. – Mahabharata 5:1517
Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself. – The Prophet Muhammad, Hadith
One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated. – Mahavira, Sutrakritanga 1.11.33
What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it. – Hillel, Talmud, Shabbath 31a
We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive. – Chief Dan George
I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all. – Guru Granth Sahib, p.1299
Regard your neighbour’s gain as your own gain and your neighbour’s loss as your own loss. – Lao Tzu, T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien, 213-218
We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. – Unitarian principle
Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself. – Shayast-na-Shayast 13.29
(Acknowledgements: This original English version was prepared by Paul McKenna.)
Isn’t it an oxymoron that all religions teach the practice of loving kindness, yet we use our differences in religion to justify being unkind to one another? Perhaps it’s time to make kindness a conscious choice rather than a random act.
Regardless of the religious path we choose to walk, let kindness be our constant companion. Rather than label ourselves and carry limiting religious beliefs that separate us from one another, choose to focus on the common thread that weaves all of us together- kindness. As the Dalai Lama said, “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”
So today, BE CONSCIOUSLY KIND. In every action, ask yourself, “Am I being kind?” Let’s find a way to live what we pray, and make kindness our default mode. Whether it’s in rush hour traffic or climbing the corporate ladder- the fastest way to get where you want to be, is by showing kindness to others along the way.
No matter how small, no act of kindness can ever be wasted. Over time, people will forget what you say or do, but they will long remember your kindness.