No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. ~ Aesop
Life has taken us to a place where we no longer value kindness. We have replaced thoughtfulness with self-importance and a need to remain impersonal. Why has the world become less kind?
Several factors have led to kindness becoming less important in our world (with tips on how you can combat the effects):
Hurrydom Life has become so fast paced we no longer take the time to listen to others. We pack so many appointments and places to be in our daily schedules that we have little time to pay attention to other people.
Tip: Make it a practice to hold the door for someone before you go through yourself.
Technology has taken the place of face-to-face, voice-to-voice interactions. Now we spend our time texting, posting, or playing mindless games on our cell phones, tablets, and computers.
- Technology has taken away the need to be on time for appointments or work, etc. It’s easy to text a friend or our bosses that we’re running a bit late. Thank you, hello, nice to meet you, please, and “how may I help you” were once considered common courtesies. Technology has removed these everyday courtesies from existence.
- We no longer smile at others when we see them. We no longer sympathize with or help someone who is having a rough day. Instead, we place an emoji on our social media post or in a text and consider that to be enough.
- There’s an app for everything. Want a relationship? Use an app. Want to order your dinner? Use an app.
Tip: Take time to look someone in the eye and smile. Ask your friend how they’re doing and listen, instead of asking and then burying your face in your cell phone. When a colleague is having a rough day, let them vent without stopping to answer a text or an email. If you’re hungry, rather than ordering via an app, go to the restaurant, place your order, and thank your server.
Self-centered and greed is another reason kindness has taken a backseat. Many people focus only on their own lives, on getting ahead, and doing whatever is necessary to beat the competition. We’ve become a society of “me first”.
Tip: Check in on an elderly neighbor who may have nobody to talk to. Help a single parent who may be struggling. You may never know how much stress you ease by carrying in their groceries.
Environmental stressors Crime rates, kidnappings, and murders have increased. Fear is running rampant in many cities. It seems safer to keep to yourself. Road rage keeps people from stopping to help someone with car trouble.
Tip: This is easier said than done, but you can’t live in a perpetual state of fear. It’s risky to lend a helping hand, but it is so important to do it anyway. You may never know the impact you may have on someone’s life.
Our upbringing was different 30 years ago. Neighbors looked out for each other. People weren’t afraid to help the needy. Our parents taught us to respect others and to be trustworthy and honest.
Tip: Refer to tip #3. If you know of an elderly person who doesn’t have any family to visit, sit with them on their porch or stoop and listen to their stories. If there is a family in your neighborhood struggling to make ends meet, leave a basket of food on their doorstep.
There is fear of being attacked for what we say or do. We don’t want to appear vulnerable and to get hurt, so we attack with words and actions to protect ourselves. Kindness has taken a backseat to greed, technology, poor manners, and the environment we live in. Instead of showing kindness, we’re afraid to be seen as the nice guy because.
What can you do today to show a bit of kindness? Start with a smile.
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