Sharing inspiration from our own Kindness Journey to inspire yours.

Javeria 2

As for many of us, one of the hardest things about the pandemic for me too has been the physical distance from my close ones. Unfortunately, I am not referring to the all-too-familiar 6 feet/2 meters, but rather 5,000 miles/8,000 km, as most of my friends and family live in Europe. While being so far away from them in such a tumultuous year was at times challenging, it also led to some special moments of connection which I will cherish forever.

When still living in Europe, one of my closest friends who I have known since high school had made it a tradition to gift me a subscription to my (and her) favourite magazine every year for my birthday. I had always loved this kind and thoughtful gesture. Every time I received a new issue in the mail, I felt her close and would send her a funny picture of me reading it. When packing before my move across the world I remember going through the stack of magazines and thinking how much I will miss our monthly tradition. Since I didn’t want the magazines to get stranded at my old address after my departure, I asked my friend to cancel the subscription when I visited her before my flight. We didn’t say goodbye but rather “see you soon”, as I already had my first visit to Europe planned for later that year.

Well, things didn’t go quite as planned. Shortly after arriving in North America, the pandemic started and cancelled all travel plans for the foreseeable future. Despite quickly finding new fun ways to connect with friends and family at home, the physical distance remained. Then one day when I went to pick up the mail I found a large envelope with a very familiar handwriting on it in the mailbox. I opened it and held a kind note from my friend and the newest edition of my favourite magazine in my hands. It turned out that she hadn’t cancelled the subscription, but rather had asked for it to be redirected to her house. As the publisher doesn’t deliver to North America, she took care of it herself. I was touched by her kind gesture which was only the first of many as she didn’t let me miss one issue since then.

 

The pandemic will pass, but I will never forget these Acts of Kindness of my friend that made the distance between us seem so much shorter.

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Doing Acts Of Kindness For 10 Days Will Take You a Long Way

Javeria 1

As for many of us, one of the hardest things about the pandemic for me too has been the physical distance from my close ones. Unfortunately, I am not referring to the all-too-familiar 6 feet/2 meters, but rather 5,000 miles/8,000 km, as most of my friends and family live in Europe. While being so far away from them in such a tumultuous year was at times challenging, it also led to some special moments of connection which I will cherish forever.

When still living in Europe, one of my closest friends who I have known since high school had made it a tradition to gift me a subscription to my (and her) favourite magazine every year for my birthday. I had always loved this kind and thoughtful gesture. Every time I received a new issue in the mail, I felt her close and would send her a funny picture of me reading it. When packing before my move across the world I remember going through the stack of magazines and thinking how much I will miss our monthly tradition. Since I didn’t want the magazines to get stranded at my old address after my departure, I asked my friend to cancel the subscription when I visited her before my flight. We didn’t say goodbye but rather “see you soon”, as I already had my first visit to Europe planned for later that year.

Well, things didn’t go quite as planned. Shortly after arriving in North America, the pandemic started and cancelled all travel plans for the foreseeable future. Despite quickly finding new fun ways to connect with friends and family at home, the physical distance remained. Then one day when I went to pick up the mail I found a large envelope with a very familiar handwriting on it in the mailbox. I opened it and held a kind note from my friend and the newest edition of my favourite magazine in my hands. It turned out that she hadn’t cancelled the subscription, but rather had asked for it to be redirected to her house. As the publisher doesn’t deliver to North America, she took care of it herself. I was touched by her kind gesture which was only the first of many as she didn’t let me miss one issue since then.

 

The pandemic will pass, but I will never forget these Acts of Kindness of my friend that made the distance between us seem so much shorter.

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Doing Acts Of Kindness For 10 Days Will Take You a Long Way
Change your habits if you want to change your life.

Changing Your Kindness Habits is Now Easier Than Ever

A choice architect has the responsibility for organizing the context in which people make decisions… [S]mall and apparently insignificant details can have major impacts on people’s behavior… Good architects realize that although they can’t build the perfect building, they can make some design choices that will have beneficial effects… – Nudge, Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein

 

As a behavioral scientist, I’m always seeking to understand the barriers people face when pursuing their goals. My aim is to find ways to reduce those barriers and help people achieve their objectives. We all have experienced how difficult it is to commit to exercising more, eating better, being better family members, better friends, better citizens, reading more, etc. New year’s resolutions are packed with ambitious and often long-standing hopes for change. Behavioral science helps us understand why change is hard and provides people with tools to reduce the intention-action gap that is part of our daily lives. 

 

Cognitive biases are an essential subject of study in behavioral science. They indicate why we behave as we do in certain situations and why we are not always rational and coherent in our decisions. We often act following “rules of thumb” or heuristics as we behavioral scientists call them. Heuristics allow our brains to save energy and lead to cognitive biases. The planning fallacy, optimism bias, projection bias, and temporal discounting – all very popular cognitive biases – lie at the heart of why we don’t accomplish our new year’s resolutions. They are also barriers we all face when we want to be kinder, happier, or healthier. But what are these biases, and why can Beni of KindWorks.AI help us overcome our own biases in our intent to be Kinder?

 

The planning fallacy is the tendency we have to schedule unrealistically little time to complete our future projects. The optimism bias leads us to believe we are more likely to achieve things than others and that we won’t face adverse events on our way. Therefore, we will be capable of doing everything we plan and want. The projection bias explains why we make plans based on what we think and feel in the present, without considering that we may feel differently in the future. Therefore, we don’t acknowledge that tiredness, stress, or sadness can get in the way, making us want to do something different from what we planned before. Temporal discounting bias shows that we tend to choose immediate rewards over long-term gains. That is why making efforts in the present is so tricky, even if we know they will bring big rewards in the future.

 

At KindWorks.AI, we understand the biases and significant barriers that we as individuals encounter when wanting to change our Kindness habits. Doing regular Acts of Kindness might at first seem complex or time-consuming. That is why we created Beni – our empathic, friendly and fun cloud-based AI agent that connects with you in the channel you already use (e.g., Slack, WhatsApp, MS Teams, etc.). Beni uses simple yet powerful behavioral change tools that make your Kindness Journey easy, joyful, and inspiring, while seamlessly facilitating (Kindness) habit change.

 

On an easy-to-use interactive platform we combine edutainment, gamification, customizable Kindness Challenges, and reminders with Artificial Intelligence. All of this helps our users reduce the impact of their biases and, therefore, enables them to accomplish their Kindness goals. We put behavioral science at our users’ service to live happier, healthier lives and to deepen their connections with others.

 

Being Kinder is a goal most of us have, and most of us have experienced the enormous satisfaction that comes with doing Acts of Kindness. However, in everyday life many of us find it hard to accomplish our Kindness goals. If you also want to grow your Kindness habits, I invite you to join us. With Beni right by your side, making Acts of Kindness a part of your daily life is now easier than ever before. Our Acts of Kindness are easy to do, mostly free or inexpensive and require almost no to little time. Try for yourself and experience that life-changing power of Kindness!

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Doing Acts Of Kindness For 10 Days Will Take You a Long Way
The Sun

The Best Way to Light Up our Lives – Learning From Luz

A few months ago, I met Luz Irene. She works cleaning and preparing food in a private household in Bogota. Colombia is a country with enormous income disparities. It is not rare that people have to work seven days a week to earn just enough to meet their family’s basic needs. Luz Irene is not an exception. She lives with her two children, husband, and stepmother, Luz being the sole provider for her family. Her children, aged twelve and fifteen, have not been able to physically attend school since the beginning of the pandemic. As the family only owns one laptop, Luz leaves the children her cell phone so that both of them can attend their virtual classes.

 

There are two reasons why I am writing about Luz. The first and most important one is that she has taught me about innate happiness and Kindness in a way I had never experienced before. Luz – her name meaning “light” in Spanish – really is a bright ray of light for everyone around her. She smiles all day and radiates so much joy, warmth, and Kindness that anytime I’m visiting the household she works in I catch myself trying to be around her as much as possible. Luz is constantly looking for ways to help others and is one of the most empathic, compassionate human beings I have ever met. My friend who has known her for 20 years told me that she has never seen Luz frustrated or heard her complaining.

 

The last time I saw Luz, I decided to finally ask her for the magic recipe to her happiness. She laughed. “You know, I just enjoy my job so much. Because for me, it is not really work, it’s is an opportunity to be Kind to others every day”, she said. I was baffled. This was it? It took me some time to think about what she had said until I realized how simple yet profound her magic recipe is. By deciding to see her work as a way of showing Kindness to others, she has been able to turn around a situation that could have been very challenging for her. I remembered a quote from the Dalai Lama that I had read somewhere recently: “Be Kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

The second reason why I am dedicating this post to Luz is an experience I had with her very recently. Two weeks ago, Luz’ cell phone was stolen on her way home from work. This meant that she now was unable to organize her job responsibilities and that one of her children could no longer attend their virtual classes. After having searched for several days, Luz told my friend that she would give up on finding a new phone as she wasn’t able to find one that she could afford. When we heard that Luz wouldn’t be able to replace her phone, my friends and I decided to join efforts and buy a new phone for her. At the time, we couldn’t imagine what this gesture would mean to her – and ultimately to us.

 

With tears of happiness, she thanked us and (unknowingly) gave us one of the biggest lessons of all: that there is always a way to contribute simply by being Kind to others. Our gift was small compared to the tremendous amount of Kindness that Luz had been giving to others for so many years. As I was witnessing her  joy over her new phone, I realized that I hadn’t felt this good in a while myself. And just then and there, I got a taste of Luz’ magic recipe. Happiness really is at our fingertips any time, I thought. And one of the most joyful ways to access it is to do an Act of Kindness for someone else.

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Doing Acts Of Kindness For 10 Days Will Take You a Long Way
Be kind in wooden letters on a white background

Kindness – a Powerful Tool to Live Happier and Longer

Written by: Beatriz Helena Vallejo Reyes

One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most about working at KindWorks.AI has been diving deep into the fascinating findings of Kindness research. All the tools we offer here at KindWorks.AI are fully supported by science, and therefore, without a doubt, have the capacity to help people improve their lives in multiple ways. In my deep dives, I have discovered a vast world of academic research, showing the various benefits of conducting Acts of Kindness towards ourselves, specific others, and our communities at large. Today, a growing body of research demonstrates that regularly performing even the smallest Acts of Kindness make us live longer, happier, and more productive lives.  In our relationships with others, it makes us more likely and trustworthy.  These studies are part of a broader group of literature aiming to understand the pathways through which social interactions impact disease risk. Interestingly, prosocial behavior has been constantly associated with long-term health outcomes [1].

One of the discoveries I have found most interesting is the influence that Acts of Kindness have on our physical health. Through the current pandemic, we have all become (some once more, some maybe for the first time) keenly aware of how vulnerable our health can be. This realization has made many of us wonder what tools we might have at hand to strengthen our bodies and minds. I was amazed to learn that studies have found that just by performing one Act of Kindness towards someone else once a week for five consecutive weeks has the power to positively change one’s immune expression profiles [1]. In other words, performing small Acts of Kindness for others generates positive changes in our biology, which reduces the risk for disease. Just imagine how much impact it would have to do this for several months (or even years) and maybe also more than once a week? And what if we also accounted for the positive effects that regularly doing Acts of Kindness would have on our happiness, general well-being and also the lives of those who experience our Kindness?

It is our mission at KindWorks.AI to encourage our users to do one daily Act of Kindness in order to live a happier, healthier and more fulfilled life – while also making this world a Kinder place. If this sounds great to you and you haven’t already, head here to sign up for our free 10DaysOfKindness Challenge and experience the amazing benefits of Kindness yourself!

[1] Nelson-Coffey, S. K., Fritz, M. M., Lyubomirsky, S., & Cole, S. W. (2017). Kindness in the blood: A randomized controlled trial of the gene regulatory impact of prosocial behavior. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 81, 8-13.

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Loni

As for many of us, one of the hardest things about the pandemic for me too has been the physical distance from my close ones. Unfortunately, I am not referring to the all-too-familiar 6 feet/2 meters, but rather 5,000 miles/8,000 km, as most of my friends and family live in Europe. While being so far away from them in such a tumultuous year was at times challenging, it also led to some special moments of connection which I will cherish forever.

When still living in Europe, one of my closest friends who I have known since high school had made it a tradition to gift me a subscription to my (and her) favourite magazine every year for my birthday. I had always loved this kind and thoughtful gesture. Every time I received a new issue in the mail, I felt her close and would send her a funny picture of me reading it. When packing before my move across the world I remember going through the stack of magazines and thinking how much I will miss our monthly tradition. Since I didn’t want the magazines to get stranded at my old address after my departure, I asked my friend to cancel the subscription when I visited her before my flight. We didn’t say goodbye but rather “see you soon”, as I already had my first visit to Europe planned for later that year.

Well, things didn’t go quite as planned. Shortly after arriving in North America, the pandemic started and cancelled all travel plans for the foreseeable future. Despite quickly finding new fun ways to connect with friends and family at home, the physical distance remained. Then one day when I went to pick up the mail I found a large envelope with a very familiar handwriting on it in the mailbox. I opened it and held a kind note from my friend and the newest edition of my favourite magazine in my hands. It turned out that she hadn’t cancelled the subscription, but rather had asked for it to be redirected to her house. As the publisher doesn’t deliver to North America, she took care of it herself. I was touched by her kind gesture which was only the first of many as she didn’t let me miss one issue since then.

 

The pandemic will pass, but I will never forget these Acts of Kindness of my friend that made the distance between us seem so much shorter.

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Doing Acts Of Kindness For 10 Days Will Take You a Long Way

Dominik

As for many of us, one of the hardest things about the pandemic for me too has been the physical distance from my close ones. Unfortunately, I am not referring to the all-too-familiar 6 feet/2 meters, but rather 5,000 miles/8,000 km, as most of my friends and family live in Europe. While being so far away from them in such a tumultuous year was at times challenging, it also led to some special moments of connection which I will cherish forever.

When still living in Europe, one of my closest friends who I have known since high school had made it a tradition to gift me a subscription to my (and her) favourite magazine every year for my birthday. I had always loved this kind and thoughtful gesture. Every time I received a new issue in the mail, I felt her close and would send her a funny picture of me reading it. When packing before my move across the world I remember going through the stack of magazines and thinking how much I will miss our monthly tradition. Since I didn’t want the magazines to get stranded at my old address after my departure, I asked my friend to cancel the subscription when I visited her before my flight. We didn’t say goodbye but rather “see you soon”, as I already had my first visit to Europe planned for later that year.

Well, things didn’t go quite as planned. Shortly after arriving in North America, the pandemic started and cancelled all travel plans for the foreseeable future. Despite quickly finding new fun ways to connect with friends and family at home, the physical distance remained. Then one day when I went to pick up the mail I found a large envelope with a very familiar handwriting on it in the mailbox. I opened it and held a kind note from my friend and the newest edition of my favourite magazine in my hands. It turned out that she hadn’t cancelled the subscription, but rather had asked for it to be redirected to her house. As the publisher doesn’t deliver to North America, she took care of it herself. I was touched by her kind gesture which was only the first of many as she didn’t let me miss one issue since then.

 

The pandemic will pass, but I will never forget these Acts of Kindness of my friend that made the distance between us seem so much shorter.

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Doing Acts Of Kindness For 10 Days Will Take You a Long Way
Compass on a city map

Making Kindness a Life Philosophy

Written by: Ruben Drayton

The term ‘philosophy’ can have multiple meanings depending on the context. It can mean the kind of academic study done by professors in universities. But it is also often used to refer to each individual person’s outlook on life. What do you value in this world, what are your principles, how do you treat yourself and others, what are your guiding goals in life?

Philosophers – that is, philosophers in the first sense – take great pains to ensure that their argumentation is logical and that there are no embarrassing gaps in the reasoning. This is how many of philosophy’s greatest results have come about. Bertrand Russell’s and Alfred Whitehead’s book Principia Mathematica, which tried to build the foundations of mathematics from as few assumptions as possible, took over 1,000 pages of extremely rigorous reasoning to prove something as outwardly simple as that 1+1=2.

However, to me it seems that many people, insofar as they can be said to possess a life philosophy, have arrived at this philosophy not through this kind of rigorous reasoning and argumentation, but through the accumulation of life experience, almost by accident. I do not deny that this kind of experience is important and even essential for having a life philosophy that you can rely on. However, I do believe that we can greatly benefit from applying some of the methods of philosophical thinking to our own lives (though perhaps not to the same extent as in Principia Mathematica). As Socrates said at the trial in which he was sentenced to death for allegedly corrupting Athens’ youth: “The unexamined life is not worth living”. We should take care to examine our values, goals and principles to build up to our idea of who we are. To give another ancient Greek aphorism: “Know thyself”.

How is this done in practice, then, and how does Kindness relate to any of this? Most of us value being Kind to ourselves and others to varying extents depending on the person. How central the concept of Kindness is to our lives inevitably affects our life philosophy, and vice versa.  If your life philosophy puts Kindness first, your actions and interactions with others will be coloured by this fact.  And if you are someone who constantly embraces and practices Kindness in your daily life, then it is no wonder if Kindness seeps into your life philosophy as well, being elevated as one of your life principles. There are many who wish that they were Kinder than they consider themselves to be, and many who are so disillusioned with the state of the world that they consider Kindness to be an ultimately useless or futile thing to include in their life philosophy.

This is where I believe philosophy can help. In recent years, movements that apply philosophical thinking to problems in the world have sprung up. Take Effective Altruism, for example. It is a philosophy that advocates for the use of reason and philosophical thinking to incorporate Kindness in your life to achieve effective results. For example, what is the best way to use your money and time to improve the world and other people’s well-being? Questions such as this are ripe for philosophical analysis. Many have adopted similar principles of effective Kindness into their own lives. In doing so, they have changed what their life philosophy means to them.

In philosophy there is an entire field of inquiry that focuses on issues very closely related to Kindness: ethics, or moral philosophy. In ethics we ask questions about what we should do. How should we act with others, what is right and what is wrong? It is a vast field with as many opinions as there are ethical philosophers. And yet, though the field has not reached anything close to consensus about any of these questions, there is something inspiring in the effort to think about these things as hard as you can to try to figure out what you should do in life and in any particular situation.

It is this same kind of hunger for answers that I think we should sometimes try to apply to our own lives. It is easy to live lives of complacency, going with what seems right at the moment. It is harder to take a step back and critically evaluate yourself and your own actions. But I do think that the rewards for doing so are great: if through this process you find what really matters to you in life, you can be more certain than you otherwise would be that this is something that you truly value – that this is what you are like. And with this kind of self-knowledge comes a certain self-assurance as well – the understanding that no matter what happens with your circumstances, which you ultimately cannot control, you at least know who you are and what you want, and having a clear idea of this can ultimately help with navigating your circumstances as well.

To have something as part of your life philosophy means that it acts as a sort of overarching guide to your choices.  It is something you consult, either consciously or subconsciously, whenever you are faced with difficult decisions in life. This is why I urge people to examine their lives as best they can. Whenever you choose one way of interacting with the world instead of another way, how much of the underlying decision-making process was based on your principles, and how much of it was in the spur of the moment? It is in pondering questions such as these that we map out a clearer picture of who each of us is as an individual person. And without knowing who you are, how can you change who you are? How can you achieve your own ideal self, or at least something closer to it, if you don’t know who you are now and don’t know what your ideal self is?

In essence, what I am saying is no more than that if you wish to be Kinder, you should consider promoting Kindness from the peripheries of your life to the front and centre, to include it as a basic tenet of your life philosophy.  Live it through your actions towards yourself and others.  When you do, and this is something that no doubt requires dedication and practice like anything else in life, you will hopefully find yourselves taking actions that are more closely aligned with who you want to become. To take an honest look at yourself, identify where you think yourself lacking, and then to make a conscious effort to fill in the gaps – this is philosophy for the heart.

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How Kindness Measurably Improves Well-Being Across Cultures

Written by: Hailey Trier

At the beginning of the KindWorks.AI journey, our team wanted to build a service that was not only enjoyable to use but also aligned with current scientific findings linking Kindness with mental health benefits. Our goal was to create an engaging messaging experience that motivates users to take control of their well-being, and research strongly shows we are on the right path. Caring for the self and others, as well as reflecting on those Acts of Kindness, has been shown time and again to have measurable benefits to numerous aspects of well-being. 

By regularly planning and completing Acts of Kindness towards others and themselves, our users take advantage of well-established links between Kindness and positive health outcomes.  In fact, Dr Jeremy Howick, Director of the Oxford University Empathy Programme, has stated that ‘The easiest way to improve your mental health and that of those around you is to do something nice for someone else.’  In addition, Buchanan and Bardi [1] demonstrated through experiments that performing Acts of Kindness daily over as little as 10 days can significantly increase life satisfaction and improve mental health. Further, a recent meta-analysis of prosociality and well-being found that Kindness improved not just psychological functioning but also had secondary benefits to physical health such as increasing energy levels and exercise [2]. It is clear that there are many health and well-being benefits to be gained from cultivating Kindness in one’s daily life.

Moreover, our team was encouraged not just by the great number of scientific studies demonstrating the measurable benefits of Kindness, but also by the cultural diversity evident in this body of scientific literature. Research supporting the positive effects of Kindness on mental health and well-being comes from studies of adult populations in a number of culturally distinct countries as Japan [3], Australia [4], and Greece [5]. The scientific agreement across this diverse body has our team at KindWorks.AI convinced that we are building a product that will create vast benefits for the employees of every company – both for the individual and the company culture – regardless of where your company is on the globe.

By signing up to KindWorks.AI and starting their personal Kindness journey with us, users are taking advantage of a strong link between compassion and well-being that will improve satisfaction with their own life, themselves, and others around them in measurable ways.  On a company-wide scale, KindWorks.AI improves employee well-being in order to boost productivity as well as enhance company culture while reducing healthcare costs and employee turnover.  We are excited for new users to quickly start seeing the effects of Kindness in their own lives and in their workplace.

References

[1] Buchanan and Bardi, “Acts of Kindness and Acts of Novelty Affect Life Satisfaction.”

[2] Hui et al., “Rewards of Kindness?”

[3] Otake et al., “Happy People Become Happier Through Kindness: A Counting Kindnesses Intervention.”

[4] Kerr, O’Donovan, and Pepping, “Can Gratitude and Kindness Interventions Enhance Well-Being in a Clinical Sample?”

[5] Symeonidou et al., “Promoting Subjective Wellbeing through a Kindness Intervention.”

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Valentine card with empty phone screen and glitters

Big & Small: The Power of Kindness on Social Media

As social media sites have gained popularity over the last decade, the debate over their value has also reached new heights. Sure, many say that it can be a negative space, but I personally sincerely believe it is a space that holds more good than bad. And when we have harnessed the good, we have seen social media do powerful things. Social media has championed charitable causes and encouraged generosity. It has brought to light social injustices and fostered empathy. And it has shown us a shared experience and simply spread joy. At the root of all of these things is a human proclivity for Kindness. 

 

Generosity is an Act of Kindness

 

One of the most memorable social media campaigns that many will recall is 2014’s  “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.” In this challenge, users shared a video of themselves being doused with an icy cold bucket of water. He/she then challenged a number of friends to do the same. All of the participants committed to making a financial contribution to ALS research. The end result was $115 million in donations. The ALS Association said that “[…] donations from the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge enabled The ALS Association to increase its annual funding for research around the world by 187 percent. During this time, ALS researchers made scientific advances, and care for people living with ALS expanded […].”

 

On a smaller scale, in my personal life, I have used social media to encourage my network to participate in charitable causes locally. At the start of this year, I came across an organization that (due to the pandemic) was no longer able to gather in-person and prepare meals for the homeless, disadvantaged, and unemployed. Instead, they found the next best option: ask volunteers to make bagged lunches at their own homes and drop them off for distribution. I began making lunches every week and shared the story to my Instagram. Soon, I found that many of my friends had followed the organization on Instagram. Better yet, many reached out to me directly to see how they could get involved and have since helped make lunches or contributed to the cause financially.

 

In one of these cases, the movement was large-scale and worldwide. In the other case, it was small-scale and limited to my neighbourhood. In both cases, a simple social media post weaved an extended web of Kindness. 

 

Empathy is an Act of Kindness

 

Another instance where we saw the reach of social media and Kindness was after the devestating murder of George Floyd, with the Black Lives Matter movement in the summer of 2020. Out of tragedy came a flood of activism around the world. Social media was used as a tool to amplify minority voices. Social media educated us about experiences outside ourselves. It guided us on how to have much needed conversations and also showed us where to donate to worthy organizations.  

 

Ultimately, social media became a catalyst for Kindness. The world empathized with loss and suffering. Many open-mindedly tried to understand how others navigate the world. Multitudes spoke up as allies for the marginalized. Countless people demonstrated a willingness to learn and grow. Millions began to make a sincere effort to listen to each other and make this world a Kinder place.

 

In my own life, I have also seen the power of empathy on social media. I recently posted a picture of my father on the anniversary of his passing. Many people commented on the post, sending virtual hugs and love. One comment was particularly meaningful. A classmate from high school, whom I hadn’t spoken to in well over a decade, replied with a quote that had helped him through the loss of his mother. We only exchanged a few messages but his simple Act of Kindness showed me that I was not alone in my loss of a parent. If not for social media, it is unlikely that we would have ever connected and had that small, but consequential, moment of deep human connection.

 

In one of these cases, the world saw a loss of life and rallied around an entire community to fight for justice and equality. In the other case, a single person saw the grief of an old acquaintance and shared words of comfort. In both cases, social media played a part in creating and communicating empathy to people in moments of pain. 

 

Sharing is an Act of Kindness

 

Social media’s Kindness is not limited to charitable generosity and empathetic activism. In its most basic form, social media spreads Kindness by simply sharing the human experience. When someone shares a meme, the intent is to elicit humorous laughter. Putting a smile on someone’s face is an Act of Kindness. When someone posts a birthday tribute to a friend, the intent is to celebrate. Showing love is an Act of Kindness. When someone shares an informative article, the intent is to educate. Illuminating others is an Act of Kindness. When someone likes a post or leaves a positive comment, the intent is to commend. Applauding someone is an Act of Kindness. When someone shares an inspirational quote or message, the intent is to uplift. Building others up is an Act of Kindness. 

 

Social media shows us that Kindness can be big and complex, but also small and uncomplicated. Fundamentally, we are all striving for a Kinder world. We are looking to create a better place to live and raise future generations. This cannot be done solely through individual compassion. It will also take our collective benevolence. In order to do that, we need to be connected, and social media is an important part of that connection.

 

There is no question that social media is a powerful tool, and as with any tool that holds great power, how we choose to use it matters. For my part, I choose to use it for good – to spread Kindness and positivity. 

 

What do you choose?

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