This coming Monday, 13th November, is world kindness day – not an event about which I knew very much before (very kind!) staff pointed out to me but one which I would support wholeheartedly.
As I read more on the subject of kindness I discovered a Random Acts of Kindness Foundation – its organisers believe the power of kindness changes the way we see the world. I believe they are correct.
Cyrenians, through our community cook clubs, are involved in the Carnegie Trust Uks work on supporting Kinder Communities
Their work looks at the significance of positive relationships and kindness on wellbeing for society as well as individuals. Their work aims to understand develop practical approaches to encourage kinder communities.
This is all good intentioned work which I believe will help make the world a better place.
But there is a wee nagging thought deep in my mind – why do we need a day to raise awareness of kindness; why do we need to deliberately committee random acts of kindness and talk about them on a website; do we need an academic research paper to tell us kindness is good for us.
Sadly, from another part of the deep recesses of my mind the answer is probably yes.
Ours is a disconnected world despite our ability to be connected 24 hours a day. Ours is an atomised world despite our capacity to communicate globally in nanoseconds. Ours is a world which fetishises the autonomous individual when meaningfulness we crave at the core of our humanness is to be found in the quality of our relationships. Our social cohesion – the emotional glue which makes communities and cities real, is tearing slowly in ways which defy the response of programmes and services, systems and plans. What is means to belong. to matter, the know ourselves through the acceptance of others is becoming harder to experience. And those on the edge find it even harder still.
The power of kindness is its simplicity. It is created and made manifest mostly on simple acts of ordinary human behavior which often brings extraordinary results. It is not the act but the sense of care behind the act which changes lives. It changes lives because people discover they matter in ways they did not previously know. It is an emotional response to an experience of the world which can be very far reaching. And it changes everyone involved; not just the recipient, but everyone. Kindness changes lives because its real power is in how it touches and heals our souls as well as our minds. Kindness is how we can rebuild, reconnected, rediscover our true connected selves.