Published on Greater St. Louis Area Council Boy Scouts of America
When we are the recipients of kindness, we feel valued, we feel happy. Kindness can be a simple, thoughtful gesture, and these acts of goodness can leave us with lasting joy and learning opportunities. Say, for example, a friend treats you to a burger, or a classmate holds the gym door open for you, or your math teacher pays you a compliment for a great tennis game. Whatever the act, you, undoubtedly, feel good, valued, and respected. That’s the beauty of kindness. It yields powerful “feel good” feelings without the expectation of anything in return.
Now think for a moment when you extended kindness to someone else. Perhaps you celebrated a friend’s birthday by decorating his or her locker, or maybe you helped mom or dad make dinner, or you phoned your grandmother for no reason to tell her how much you love her. Doing a good deed for someone else likely “warmed” their heart – and filled your heart with joy, too.
Studies say when we show kindness to others, it boosts our serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of satisfaction and well-being, which make us feel good. Kindness is powerful. It breeds happiness, which in turn breeds success. What’s more, it can be contagious, leaving you and others to pay it forward again and again.
“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
~ Mark Twain
Kindness has no limits. No matter your age or gender, kindness has the power to build character as well as relationships. When our kind actions affect others, we also feel more confident, worthy, compassionate, and self-aware. Individuals who exhibit kindness regularly tend to have stronger relationships with friends, teachers, coaches, and even their parents.
We live in a fast-pace, technology-driven world with commitments and responsibilities, which can add stress to our lives. Remember, we have the power to take a step back and use our self-regulation skills to help us from overreacting and saying or doing things we regret. By keeping kindness in the forefront, you will properly navigate your actions in an appropriate, respectful way.
Everyone can boost their kindness efforts. After all, it’s a win-win and has lasting value. Follow these five tips to be a leader in kindness.
It Begins with You
Show you care for others by investing time in getting to know others in your troop or class. What are their interests, hobbies? When you show interest and kindness to others, you both will feel more socially connected. You’ll develop a bond that will yield trust, respect, and friendship.
Life is full of surprises, some good, some not so good. Congratulating a friend when he or she experiences a “win” is not only the right thing to do, but it also enriches your relationship. The same support holds true if your friend is going through a tough time. Kindness can be the pick-me-up they need, and they will feel ever-so grateful for your support.
No Judging, No Blaming
Kindness does not judge or blame. To err is human, and we all make mistakes. Practice empathy and the art of forgiving. Your character and integrity will shine brighter for doing so.
Kindness is contagious and can inspire others to follow in your footsteps. Take the kindness lead and be a source for others. You’ll be surprised how your thoughtfulness will empower others to do the same.
Engage in the Golden Rule
If you treat others the way you want to be treated – with respect, trust, kindness, and
gratitude – you’ll set the gold standard and be a role model for others. This behavior of excellence is not only expected of you, but it also often leads to growth opportunities.
Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed with an overloaded homework/activity plate, and kindness may be put away in our mental file cabinet as we grind out the work. Being self-aware of our emotions will help offset the stress, which will allow us to be more mindful of our behavior. We can still focus on our schoolwork and activities, but our self-awareness tells us to do so with patience and kindness toward others.