Kindness: What It Is and Why We Need It

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see” — Mark Twain. What is kindness? Is it simply a sign of weakness, a sign of vulnerability, or is it a virtue, a strength? Many people have a preconceived stereotype about kindness, typecasting it as a fatal flaw. The common misconception is that kindness incontrovertibly softens one’s heart, and renders them emotionally frail and incapable of violence or anger. However, kindness is more than that. Kindness and compassion are the most essential values that we have as humans. Kindness can take on disparate forms. Kindness shows up as a comforting smile, a warm embrace, or even a helping hand when we need it the most. Kindness exists as compassionate acts of goodwill, altruistic acts of generosity, and even thoughtful gestures of benignity. Kindness even exists as the tiniest gestures of compassion — cleaning up after your mess, giving up your seat to the needy, caring for those who are ill. In a world filled with pain and suffering, kindness serves as a reminder that we are not alone in our journey. As if a cool breeze, kindness revitalises us, refreshes us, and endows us with the resolution to trod on, to overcome insurmountable challenges. I believe that kindness is the impetus for us to move on, to carry on the journey without giving up, to triumph over difficulties.

Our generation is selfish and narcissistic. We only think about ourselves and we do not empathise with the needy – the elderly, the orphaned, the poor. We are apathetic towards the predicament and affairs of others, simply because “it is none of our business”. Therefore, we need to go beyond ourselves and break through these barriers and encumbrances that have chained us to selfishness and callousness. We need to start thinking about others, empathising others, helping others. We need to lend a helping hand to those who need it, to be compassionate and sensitive to others. We need to be kind to one another, or else the world would become one where people are detached and aloof towards others, where people are churlish and impertinent towards others. We need to prevent this dystopia from becoming reality. Kindness is not all about making great sacrifices for the good of others – it can be from the tiniest gestures of thoughtfulness to the greatest acts of sacrifice. Too often have we underestimated the significance of a smile, a nod, a hug, a compliment, or even a kind word. These small actions have the potential to help those in need, the potential to change one’s life, the potential to transform the world. Kindness appears as a rainbow after a storm, the sunshine after a bitter, cold night, a spark of hope in a pool of despair.

Each of us have the ability to be the rainbow to those who have been battered in the storm, the sunshine to those who are suffering, the spark of hope to those who are writhing in despair. Do not be daunted by the prospects of having to sacrifice in order to be kind. Even a simple gesture like encouraging others, smiling at others, complimenting others can brighten others’ lives. As long as each of us execute a simple act of goodwill, the world would become a better place. What is kindness? Is it simply a sign of weakness, a sign of vulnerability? Definitely not. Kindness is a bridge between peace and harmony, a tool that strengthens and fortifies bonds between others, a creator of hope. We can all make the world a kinder place, simply by smiling at a stranger, complimenting someone’s outfit, or even encouraging someone when he is forlorn. Let us all do our part in ameliorating the world, for the betterment of the needy. Let us push for the world to be kind to one another, and not be cruel or vicious. Let us create a better tomorrow, for our generation and beyond.

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