My husband likes to tell me that his favorite thing about me is that I am kind. I always felt like this was nothing, like being kind was just normal, not anything special. Sometimes, people think of kindness as a weakness. A lot of kind people say they’ve had their kindness taken advantage of or abused. Whether people were subject to bullying, abusive relationships, or other unfortunate scenarios, someone tried to exploit their kindness without regard. However, kindness is not a weakness, it is actually incredibly powerful.
The power of kindness comes in many different forms. For some, their power of kindness is opening the door for a stranger or helping someone with their groceries. For others, their power of kindness is volunteering to help build homes in a disaster area or dish out food at a homeless shelter. My power of kindness is listening and reaching out, among other things.
For many years, I was afraid to display this power. I would get nervous about complimenting others. In the past, I had “friends” who thought less of me when I would compliment them or others, as if I was no longer desirable simply for a display of admiration. I’ve learned that their actions displayed their own personal struggles and that I should not have allowed such things to hamper me. My kindness is not something I should be afraid of displaying.
I enjoy seeing the good in people and letting them know about it. I enjoy supporting my friends in the pursuit of their goals. I enjoy helping people when I am able to do so. I like getting to know new people and hearing their stories. I celebrate people for their individual uniqueness and strengths. I smile at strangers. I hold open doors. I believe in the inherent value of those around me simply because they exist.
The truth is, being openly kind means being vulnerable and that is something that is hard for many people to do, myself included. When we are kind to others, we sometimes leave ourselves open to risk – the risk of being ridiculed for our compliment, the risk of being rejected by a new acquaintance, the risk of being taken advantage of for having a giving nature. It’s easier to just stay quiet, it’s easier to put up walls, it’s easier to stick to our own little bubble instead of reaching out.
Luckily, there is no time like the holiday season to practice the power of kindness. What is your power of kindness? How can you show kindness to others this holiday season? How can you cultivate that kindness to make it into a habit in the new year?
Remember, kindness is powerful. Kindness has the power to brighten someone’s day or even to change their life. I’m learning to come out of my shell and embrace this power, and I hope to inspire others to embrace their own unique power of kindness and let it brighten the world.