Some mornings, you wake up and you just know it’s going to be a hard day.
Yesterday morning, well before the fog of sleep had lifted, I sat on the couch gawking at the TV screen, tears rolling down my face.
Now, just to be clear, crying isn’t anything out of the ordinary for me. I’ll be the first to admit that I cry a lot.
I cry during Disney movies or even when listening to music; I cry when others have been wronged or treated unjustly, when people or animals are abused, and when strangers are sad or struggling. I cry when I read the vitriol that people like to spew at one another behind the veil of the internet where they think others won’t attach their names to their sinister petulance.
Why, then, is it so easy for us to continue to treat each other unkindly? To point fingers, assign blame, and never so much as raise our eyes to the mirror?
How is it so easy for us to forget that our words matter just as much as our actions? That the attitudes that we put forth into the world are contagious, and so we must very carefully curate and cultivate those attitudes?
I do my best to be kind. I do my best to approach every situation with an open mind and empathy. It’s not always easy, and believe me, I don’t always get it right.
But I aim to be a little bit better every day. To react a little less harshly to the things I don’t understand and the viewpoints I don’t agree with, and to ask questions so that I might understand a little more.
We have all become cynical.
We’ve become cynical of each other and of the world. We are not sure kindness exists anymore, and so we resist from doling it out ourselves, assuming (wrongly) that it will never come back to us anyway.
Sometimes, I’m not sure kindness exists anymore myself. If it does still exist, it’s sure as heck no one’s top priority.
But the funny thing about kindness is, it starts with us. We cultivate it, we give it, we spread it. It’s contagious. If I want more kindness in my life, it must first come from within.
When we cultivate cynicism, we spread cynicism.
When we cultivate contempt, we spread contempt.
When we cultivate intolerance, we spread intolerance.
We have nothing to be gained from spreading these ideologies, and everything to lose.
But there is nothing to be lost from cultivating and spreading kindness, and everything to be gained.
In this individualistic society, we’ve forgotten how to take care of one another, and we’ve forgotten why it’s even important. Who wouldn’t be cynical in a society comprised entirely of strangers?
So, today and every day after it, for the sake of humanity, be kind. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others. Even when you don’t want to be, and even when you are angry or sad.
It’s all we can do, and it just might make all the difference.