Why Be Kind?
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Why Be Kind?

Because being a jerk sucks! Oh, wait, I guess that wasn't kind...

Why Be Kind?
Elli Schroeder

One of my biggest goals is to be the type of person who's known for being kind. That one person who can make everyone smile by walking into a room, who always has something uplifting to say to everyone, who just reminds people of light and happiness and everything good in the world.

Why do I care? Earth is full of rude people who don't deserve my kindness. The world is cold and cruel, and it takes people who are kind and breaks them. If you're kind, you're a pushover or naïve or stupid. Being kind is being weak, because the only person looking out for you is you and there's no time to worry about other people, right?

Maybe that's true. Maybe the world is cold, and cruel, and full of selfish and mean people. Maybe there's suffering and pain and you won't be able to avoid it no matter how kind you are. But why would you want to add to that hurt? Why would you want to be just one more horrible, pessimistic person, when your kindness could make this cold world a little brighter?

The truth is, the world might not care if you're kind. Society, in general, might stay just as corrupt and confused as before. But individuals? That's where the real impact is. One kind word to a stranger can change their whole day or even their life. Kindness is what takes us halfway across town or halfway across the world to help those suffering in poverty. Kindness is what prompts people to cook meals for the sick or injured. Kindness is what motivates all the good people do for society without getting anything back. Scholarships, donations, volunteer work, missions trips, relief organizations, aid networks, charities, everything that works to make the world a better place by helping those who need help but might not be able to give anything in return, it's all fueled by kindness.

Think back to the kind people you've known. You know what I'm talking about, the ones that radiate positivity and encouragement like they're the sun and those are their rays of light. Haven't you always loved those people? Those people always make sure you're comfortable, make sure you're included, make sure you're happy. They're the ones you can't bring up without smiling because they're simply pure light and joy. Whatever's going on in their lives, they always make sure to have a smile for you. You can't imagine them sad, or angry. That's not to say they don't get sad or angry, of course, but they make an effort not to take it out on the innocent people around them.

Don't those people just make life better? Haven't you wished once (or more than once) that you could be like them, be as loved and appreciated and uplifting as them?

Of course, you have, but I'm being silly, aren't I? They're so nice because it's their personality, and they're just naturally nice and cheerful. It's so much harder for you, with your temper or mood swings or sarcastic sense of humor. You're just not the type of person who can be nice all the time. It's far too much work, especially when other people can pull it off so easily.

I'm going to let you in a little secret: Being a kind person isn't easy for anyone.

Yes, it's true. Even that girl you sort of know who's just so sweet, or that one boy in your math class who's just so patient, that one coworker who's just always in the best mood. Those people have worked hard to become the nice people they are today. And it's almost always a struggle. You're not special just because you have a hard time being kind. Everyone does, most of the time, and the ones who seem like they don't have simply decided that this is too important to give up on just because it's hard.

So, if this isn't easy for anyone, what's stopping you? The question really shouldn't be "Why be kind?" If you're a decent human being, caring about other humans should be important to you. Why not be kind? What's stopping you?

You can be just like those people you've always looked up to. Perhaps your kindness shows itself differently; you don't have to give up sarcasm or jokes or light-hearted complaining. Just be an encourager. Be an optimist. Be forgiving. Be generous. Be positive. Be a friend to those who need one. Be the one who's willing to help, even if it inconveniences you. It's hard and takes time, but eventually, it will become second nature to you to build others up instead of tearing them down, to help the people around you instead of complaining about what you have to do, to be selfless instead of selfish. Habits form when you're intentional about kindness. Ingrain compassion into your mind, your heart, your soul.

When the world is dark, be the light. When the world is cold, be the warmth. When the world is cruel, be the compassion. Inspire kindness in others by being kind yourself, and little by little, we can make this world a better place.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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