I have just returned home from a fairly routine day. I went to a few meetings, filled  my car with gas, stopped in at the grocery store and did other assorted errands; some for business and others just for life. In the process, I was struck by something that created a strange sadness in me. Everywhere I went, it seemed that a lot of people were angry and unkind. I mean really unkind…not just “cut someone off in the parking lot” unkindness; but snarky behavior, rude and even racist comments and I saw a sign on a car which pointed out that members of a certain political party are all idiots. However, it lost some of its sting because the sign actually read “idoits.” People who are going to call others idiots should pretty much know how to spell their insult or they appear to be…well….idoits.

We are living in strange times that are full of scary things! People feel uncertain and frightened because they are facing unknown futures. We are bombarded with stories of terror and hopelessness and accusations of blame. In the workplace and just about everywhere else, people are pitted against each other to see who is going to come out on top. It seems as if we intentionally or subconsciously calculate what the outcome of our behavior will be…is it worth our while to be kind? This attitude puts kindness in jeopardy.

Social media has made it easier to spew unkindness. Some people feel free to express negative opinions and comments when they are hiding behind their computer screens. I am amazed at the number of nasty things that are written, apparently with no sensitivity filters or concern about the damage that the words could cause.

I’m thinking that we all should go back to our kindergarten training and remember that kindness is the first step toward living successfully in this world. Kindness doesn’t necessarily make everything better for us, but it makes us better for everything! Here are some reminders:

  • Understand that kindness isn’t about pleasing anyone and winning accolades; it comes from a genuine desire to help others.
  • Being unkind to someone else or criticizing their efforts doesn’t elevate you.
  • Encouraging someone else doesn’t diminish your accomplishments.
  • When you make kindness a habit, your outlook on life begins to change.
  • You get back what you send out!
  • Even if you don’t feel like an especially kind person, act like one! Fake it ‘til you make it!
  • Be careful and thoughtful about what you write on social media sites.
  • Kindness breeds kindness.
  • Do not call people idiots or idoits!

Linda Henley-Smith is a speaker, trainer and coach who uses humor, music and other fun stuff to teach people how to find balance and joy in their personal and professional lives.