Kindness: it’s more than being nice


   When my family was traveling back from our trip to Illinois, it was snowing hard. Flakes fell from the sky rapidly and harshly. It didn’t take long for vehicles to start swerving off the road and nearly collide with other cars. And as much as we think accidents may not happen, it did, and we watched as a red car slammed into the ditch and pivoted, rolling tires through deep snowdrifts and then coming to a sudden stop.

   Had we not gone out, my dad racing to the car to find out if they were okay, my mom on the phone with 911, my brothers and I trying to soothe the lady, the mother driving may have never seen her daughter again. And although this may come off as an extreme, intense example of kindness, it was one that very well may have saved a life.

   Kindness, however big or small the act, is something that we can all work on. It’s in everyone’s hearts to be good to people. Is that always easy? No, sometimes it’s really hard. We want to take things for ourselves or ignore the issue, afraid we could make something worse. But sometimes that road is the best one to walk; the one where we don’t walk past someone hurting, where we don’t pass by as if we’ve seen nothing.

   Some of us are still wary of kindness. We think that someone is conniving for trying to be kind, we internalize that, and believe deep down that person is bad. Psychologists have even said so. According to Psychology Today, being nice can cause “burn out” “self-criticism” and “resentment.”

   I think that instead of doing the right thing, we second guess ourselves and think that someone else will take the role of “defender.” When we do that, though, we fear the right thing. We fear that we’ll cross a line with someone. But think, would you or I appreciate being picked on or teased, then watched and taunted by others simply because it’s difficult to stand up for what’s right?

   Such thoughts, irrational as they are, derail that opportunity to be the “defender.” The moment is mulled over so many times for such a length that the opportunity to act passes and the moment is gone. The moment to step in is no longer there, and the victim is filled with shame and ripped of their dignity. I would never be able to forgive myself.

   Instead, however, why don’t we stand up for those who are broken and hurting? Why don’t we defend someone from the heat of the moment? Why don’t we even come to resolve things with them when things are over. When the tension has passed and left, the easiest act of kindness is to go and ask if they’re alright. If they need a hug. That if they ever need someone to talk to or lean on, you’re there. 

   It can be awkward to be kind. Kindness is rare right now. To be that rare person, the one that you would want others to be to you, is what’s important. 

   Yes, it’s hard to balance when we should step in. Sometimes we’re forced away from that situation. There’s moments where we have no choice but to walk away. For our safety or theirs. But there’s also moments in life when we can feel it. In our gut, we know it’s the right thing to stand up and help someone. Prop open a door on a cold morning. Smile at someone who is frowning.

   These little acts of kindness help. The people are inevitably grateful. Should I be in a crash like that mother, I’d hope and pray that someone would help me.

   Being kind, as cliche as it sounds, saves people. From their sadness, from their guilt, from their loneliness. To go out of the way to help a stranger may seem foreign, but it could very well save a life. After all, we never know what someone’s going through. As much as we may like to think, kindness is more than just an act of benevolence and altruism, it is also an act of extraordinary courage. 

Danielle Black, Staff Reporter

facts taken from https___www.randomactsofkindness.org_the-science-of-kindness