Art by Vivian Hsia
Though people often overlook kindness in day-to-day life, it can have long-lasting effects on the giver and the world around them.
Mother Teresa was the mother of kindness — she dedicated her life to serving others, and built her life on selflessness, according to Nobel Prize. Through her, people can see the living, breathing example of the beauty in a kind heart and the impact it can have on humankind.
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless,” Mother Teresa said.
Cliché, but true, kindness is contagious. In my experience, when one puts kindness out into the world, it continues to circulate and multiply. The beginning of change is kindness, according to Be An Inspirer.
I volunteered with Baby2Baby on Sept. 26, a nonprofit organization that provides third-party delivery of crucial supplies to children in need. A group of three friends and I ventured to their warehouse in L.A., where we packaged clothing for infants as young as 18 months to kids as old as 14.
After the service, my peers and I discussed the experience. We all agreed we left the warehouse feeling inspired and full of life.
Along with my wonderful friends and the welcoming staff at Baby2Baby, the entire experience emitted positive energy and curated a memory I will never forget. Various people came together to serve, and this was a reminder to me humans can be beautiful, selfless creatures.
Studies have shown giving kindness has physical health benefits as well, according to Mayo Clinic. When one performs an act of kindness, it can reduce blood pressure and decrease the number of stress hormones present in the body. Kindness can even help you live longer, according to the Mayo Clinic Health Study.
In addition to physical health benefits, performing a random act of kindness can have desirable effects on mental health. It can help balance chemicals in the brain, ease anxiety and even improve your self-esteem, according to the Mental Health Foundation.
Recently, I read a book by Michael J. Prinstein and Kenneth A. Dodge, titled “Understanding Peer Influence in Children and Adolescents.” This book includes evidence supporting the idea that peer pressure results in one morphing into the people who surround you.
This is especially prevalent in young people, when one establishes self-esteem and the need to be accepted is more present than seen in older people. If we can implement the idea that kindness is the bigger symbol for strength rather than weakness in young minds, we change the future of tomorrow, according to MCCS.
As a people-pleaser, I am very familiar conforming to feel accepted by peers. However, when my kindness and selfless nature gets lost in trying to please others — a bigger issue arises.
Through tools like meditation and journaling, I have started to recognize my people-pleasing tendencies and noticed when I stray from my core values.
Though at times challenging and uncomfortable, it is crucial never to give in to societal pressures and always stand up for what you know is right.
If we move through life with compassion and whole-hearted kindness, we will start to notice all the beautiful ways this kindness impacts those around us and how they continue to move these acts of kindness along.
I began to think about what I could do in my everyday life to bring more kindness here on Pepperdine campus. If I see a girl wearing really cool shoes, instead of giving in to the anxious thought, “Oh no, will she think I’m weird if I tell her?” What if I push past that uncomfortable feeling and tell her I like her shoes anyway? Perhaps that could bring a sprinkle of joy to her day.
As you move throughout your day today, I encourage you to smile at the person you pass on your walk through main campus. You may also ask your roommate how their day went, or introduce yourself to someone new.
These small acts can make all the difference.
If you need a smile today or some inspiration to continue being kind, I invite you to check out our “Good News” section on our Pepperdine Graphic website.
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Email Ashley York: firstname.lastname@example.org