There’s one thing my coworker said that really made me think–and it wasn’t even related to feelings or thoughts. He always wears sweaters, and at the beginning of the week, when he wore a sweater and the weather was still drenched in the summer heat, I asked how he could stand it. He said, “I must be broken because I always want to wear a sweater, whether it’s hot or cold.” When he talked about his cat, he said, “He must be broken because he eats trash and throws up.”
It wasn’t even the cat or the sweaters that got me thinking about the subject of this article, but it was the concept of being broken. Everyone is broken. There is some kind of heartache, pain, or sickness that everyone is battling inside–even if they seem like the happiest people. I know that I personally have become so good at putting on a face that people can’t even tell when I’m hurting inside. Everyone is broken, and that’s why I decided to write this. It’s because kindness counts and it pays off, no matter what.
In Hawaii, I’ve always felt this sense of kindness, and that’s in the aloha spirit. It permeates the air in Hawaii, breathes through the lives of the people, and exhibits itself in acts of service and goodwill. In a book I’m currently reading, Managing with Aloha, Rosa Say speaks to my heart when she describes aloha.
As far back as I can remember, Aloha surrounded me, it was the grandfather of all the other values I’d come to learn, woven into my culture and thus my character. It was a feeling connected to family and community, comforting and familiar, yet unobtrusive, a sort of color that warmed up the background of everything. Aloha was just there, it wasn’t something we talked about much, it was more a way of living that you grew up with–and everyone else assumed you grew up that way. It was good, and it was right.
We don’t talk about aloha a lot because it’s just there. When you’re in Hawaii, it’s just there. And without it, the world can get lonely, cold, and even hopeless. There needs to be more aloha in this world. It is kindness in everyday thoughts and actions. This past weekend my little sister got married and I had enough experiences to convince me that kindness is vital to living a happy, meaningful, and beautiful life. When I was with my family, my sister’s new in-laws, and family friends, I could clearly see the value of being kind, no matter what. So I’ve put together a few of my thoughts on kindness, and why it matters.
You never know what someone is going through
Even if you’re having a terrible day, you never know what the person next to you is dealing with, which is why kindness is so important. The golden rule is to treat others how you want to be treated. I’ve been genuinely surprised by how people have treated me. I work at a call center (oh so glamorous), so you can imagine the levels of rudeness in people that I deal with. They call the company for help with their products, but sometimes they are incredibly degrading, belittling, and impatient. Today was the first time I actually started crying and couldn’t finish a call. I was so tired from the wedding weekend and feeling overwhelmed with life that the rudeness of the customer was just the tipping point for me. You never know what people are going through, and kindness goes a long way. Tone says a lot. Body language says a lot. Countenance says a lot. But even something as small as a smile is enough to brighten another person’s day. 🙂
Kindness is a mark of maturity
No matter how old a person is, kindness quickly reveals a person’s level of maturity. When confronting someone who is contentious, impatient, or angry, it’s easy to get heated and fight back. Kindness is knowing how to fight back or walk away without losing the aloha spirit inside of you. This is a hard balance, but I feel like I’m mastering it. I have a lot of close friends that I’ve made over the years, and sometimes I’m just so busy with life and trying to keep on top of things that I lose touch with them. It’s interesting to see how some of them lash out at me, guilt-tripping me for not working around their schedules to get together, or not responding as quickly as they’d like. I feel like this is unfair and, honestly, unkind, because when I want to get together with a close friend and they can’t work with my schedule or timing, I’m super chill about it (might be that I’m just an island, go-with-the-flow, you do you kind of girl). People are busy, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t love them or that I’m not interested in their lives. Kindness is knowing how to treat these kinds of situations–especially the ones where you have no control–with grace and patience. There’s nothing to get heated over. It is true maturity to act with kindness, no matter the age, from a little child to a senior citizen.
Kindness helps you feel better about yourself
I think a lot of people are mindless. When you are in the stores, at a restaurant, or even driving, people are on their phones or being aggressive to get what they want before anyone else. Kindness is about being mindful, and being patient when there are lines, when things aren’t working out, or when someone is taking a while to do something. Kindness is looking up at people and making eye contact and smiling or interacting with the cashier at the store. It’s holding the door open for the mom with her stroller or sharing a laugh with another driver when they catch you singing in the car. Kindness is saying hi to the frequent people you see at the gym, the library, or the school. It’s being a conscious and safe driver, even when everyone else is speeding or cutting you off. Being mindful makes you feel better, so in the end, kindness is not only helping someone else, it’s helping you.
It makes the world a better place
In the very end, kindness makes the world warmer, meaningful, and a better place for everyone. I know that I try really hard to be kind. I’m not perfect–and nobody is–but I feel that as I’ve made a conscious effort to be kind to everyone, it’s helped me be a happier person. I feel like my life has more purpose and that I can be proud of myself in the very end. I can die knowing that I tried, and that even if people were rude to me or intentionally caused me harm, I responded with the fire of the aloha in my heart. If everyone tried a little more to be a little kinder, just think how much better the world would be!!! 🙂
So what are you going to do to be kind?
Side note: I know this article wasn’t focused on Esther’s wedding, but these were just some things I thought about before, during, and after her big day. She and Nic were so adorable and I took some videos during their day. So why not make a video? 🙂 Hope you enjoy!!! Be sure to like and follow my Facebook page for the latest updates!