• Ellen Dodd

Kindness can Save the World

We as a collective are very hurt, wouldn’t you say. Our history of violence and hatred, our normalisation of judgement, our internalisation of unkind words: all cause hurt. And, as the saying goes, “hurt people, hurt people”. So, how do you cure a world infected with hurt? Kindness, and indeed love, could fine well be the medicine we need.

Recognising the need for kindness in our lives is the first step. Choosing to smile, be gracious and nice to those around us with no agenda, just because it is nice. And we feel better when we are nice, they feel better and then go about their days being nice as well. A Spike Milligan poem comes to mind… “Infectious Smiles”:

“Smiling is infectious

You can catch it like the flu

When someone smiled at me today

I started smiling too

I walked around the corner

And someone saw me grin

When he smiled I realised

I had passed it on to him

I thought about the smile

And then realised its worth

A single smile like mine

Could travel round the earth

So if you feel a smile begin

Don’t leave it undetected

Start an epidemic

And get the world infected.”

So, I challenge you to do exactly that. Being kind sounds easy, but in a world where we all carry unresolved burdens in our hearts, sometimes we can be unkind without meaning to be. You see, we have many aspects of ourselves, some nicer than others. Some, we are completely unaware of, and they often are the nastier. In psychology, Carl Jung refers to this as the “shadow”, and calls for humanity to “make the unconscious, conscious”. As difficult as it can be to recognise and address our shortcomings, it is entirely worth it. For the aftermath involves being, well, happy. And kinder, which spreads more and more kindness. We are all superheroes, and can save the world with our kindness - it’s just none of us realise it yet.

The biggest block to being kind is our negative emotions. Negative emotions are okay, actually positive, as they show us areas in our life where we can make change. The issue arises however, when we assume our negative emotions are the fault and thus responsibility of another. This leads us to blame them, often times treat them unkindly, or try get them to change their behaviour to our suiting. None of this is kind, but it isn’t malicious. It is just because we don’t realise why we feel what we feel.

So, I challenge you, when another gets to you, or indeed any situation gets to you, to ask yourself “why?”. Why do I feel this way? What is happening inside of me? Oftentimes, the answer can come from unaddressed hurt within us from our pasts. Other times, it is to do with unhappiness in our present. For instance, an inner knowing that we need to make a change. Then seeing another make that change can cause us to feel as if they are causing our uncomfortable feelings, but really that feeling is just a messenger that we need to make a change too! Which is actual fact, is positive. Lemme explain why…

You see, we are here on this Earth to learn. Nothing more, or less. To learn and to change as we do so. When we feel anger at another person for evolving, it is an invitation to ask ourselves in what way can we evolve? Likewise, envy invites us to ask what is this person doing that I wish I was doing? When another makes a mistake, and our reaction is to be fed up and annoyed with them instead of compassionate, it is an invitation to ask where in our lives have we made mistakes that need to be addressed? Through this work, we can level up our lives. And, as a result, realise that we are our own responsibility, not others.

Then? Then we begin to see others in a different way. As other “us’s”, out there trying to figure out their lessons and to grow from them. Instead of wanting to change them, or blame them, or judge them, we find ourselves with compassion for them and want to treat them kindly. To help them grow! Because we are settled in ourselves, that we are growing. We end up being kinder, becoming superheroes and changing the world. This is no exaggeration, think about how many fights, wars, horrible events could have been avoided if everyone involved had chosen to not want to change others because of their negative emotions, but dealt with it on their own instead? And, I’ll tell you, that is a whole lot easier to do when people are kind… Kindness is like fuel for our-selves, our souls. It gives us courage and strength to make better choices, to listen to our emotions and evaluate where we need change. It is honourable work, for the world. A service to humanity, really. One person deciding to change themselves, thus being kinder and fuelling others so they can change themselves, creates ripples in the world. Ripples of kindness, and love.

We are all superheroes. Every single one of us, no one is above or below another. Every other person is just another you, another person trying to learn and evolve – whether we realise it or not. Deciding to really evolve, to feel our negative emotions and do what they are asking us to do, to be kinder to others and thus fuel them so they can do the same with ease, to just be happy in a world that is sad: that is the work of superheroes. And it is noble. So I challenge you this:

• Slow down. Breathe. Try to be present as you walk through life, as life itself is often the teacher showing us where we need to make change.

• Begin to notice your feelings as they arise due to situations you find yourself in, and take the time to ask yourself “why”?

• If your answer is “because they…” then keep asking, until you get to a “because I…”

• And, see what it’s asking you to do. Look for a new job? Change your sleeping or eating habits? Maybe you are angry because you are tired, not because of your partner?

• And finally, try just being kind. All the time. Even if someone is really, realllly annoying – just be nice to them. And of course, ask yourself why you are annoyed… But really, just be nice. You will feel better afterwards, they will be fuelled, and the world will genuinely be a better place for it.

Now more than ever we need superheroes, will you answer the call? Everyone on Earths phone is ringing… Gamify your life and become conscious of your evolution, respect the other you’s out there who are all doing the same thing: learning. And, have fun! I promise you, with every uncomfortable emotion, when you decide to ask why it is there and make that change, your world gets a little brighter. Do it for yourself! Then save the world as a by-product. Peace out, hope you have a wonderful day.

P.S Remember the “shadow” I mentioned earlier? I would recommend this article (linked) for a deeper understanding of what it is, and how it manifests in our lives, and why working with it is essential on our road to becoming super heroes.

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