Please, today remember to be kind. Remember to think before you speak. You never know what people are going through. That guy speeding on the highway who cut you off might just be rushing his pregnant wife to the hospital. That barista who messed up your drink might have just heard the soul-crushing news that her grandfather is dying. There’s a chance that your professor isn’t trying to ruin your life with deadlines, he might just be doing his job. You never know what people are going through.
Please, treat people like humans. In a world where most of our interactions happen from behind a screen, it is so easy to treat people like robots. Please, remember there is someone on the other side of the screen. The guy you ghosted deserves an explanation. He might be struggling with his worth, and now he’s left wondering what he did to drive you away when you really just weren’t interested. The sales lady you snapped at over the phone is just doing her job. Your parents just miss you and they’re not trying to be annoying.
Please, give people the benefit of the doubt. Think about where they are coming from. Have empathy. Sometimes people say dumb, rude things. It can be hard not to snap at these remarks. When your aunt merely suggests you lose 10 pounds, understand that she is just projecting her insecurities on you. When your coworker comments on what you’re eating, try to remember she may be struggling with her own habits. We tend to think that people are victimizing us, but their remarks may be coming from issues they are struggling with. Please, show them the kindness and empathy they may be struggling to show themselves.
Please, be kind to yourself. If a friend came to you with a problem, you might give them advice and tell them they are doing great. “You’re trying your best,” you would say. “You are making such amazing progress!” Yet when we look at ourselves, all we can think is, “You don’t do enough. You aren’t perfect. You can do better.” What if we treated ourselves like a friend? What if we spoke to ourselves like a friend? Please, just be kind to yourself. Build yourself up. Give yourself time and the care you need to feel full. Go after the things that make you happy. Speak to yourself with kindness.
Please, remember that small things have big impacts. Pay for the coffee order behind you in line. Hold doors open for people. Give compliments. Write letters. Be there to listen or to give advice if asked. Donate old clothes. Smile at strangers. Ask friends how they are doing. Make plans with the friend you haven’t heard from in a while. Practice self-care.
What if we defaulted to kindness? What if we valued kindness as it should be valued? At the end of your life, you will not be remembered for how many hours you worked. No one will be at your funeral tearing up over how much money you made. People will not be touched by how pretty you were, how expensive your car was, or how much weight you were able to lose on that diet. They will be touched by your actions. They will be touched by the kindness you show on a daily basis. People will remember how you showed up and loved them with every square inch of your heart. It all starts with a choice to default to kindness over judgement. It is a choice you have to make every day. It is not an easy choice, and it takes practice, but it is an important one.
Please, just be kind.