“Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle.”– Charles Glassman
Often, we as humans can get caught up in the idea of individualism. We get so worried about what we are doing, thinking, feeling, and wanting, that we forget about the functionality of human beings comes from our ability to act as a collective simultaneously. Everything you touch, use, and feel is inevitably the result of the people close to you, and people far away.
I use the road, built by people for people, to travel to see friends, the same way someone I’ve never spoken to sitting next to me in this café does. We laugh at different things, and I’m sure we have cried over different things. I like living in populous places because there is an ever-present reminder that human being’s function together, but separately.
It is important for me to acknowledge that yes, my struggles are still struggles, and I am still allowed to feel that sadness and pain that comes with them. The person next to me that I do not know also feels those emotions, and we are both here at this café.
When you understand that each individual person struggles differently with their own set of setbacks, hopes, wants, and needs, I believe you are more understanding of the kind of magic that kindness is.
Some of the kindest things I’ve ever seen have been acts of true spontaneity, one split second decision to defy the socialized set of norms and say or do something for someone else. Doing so might make you feel awkward, or vulnerable, and you may never know how that person will react or if they will think about it for the next four hours or not, but it’s not about that.
It’s about taking a step back from the highly individualized society we so often fall into by habit and look at the bigger picture. Kindness creates a community of people who learn from the people around them, near and far, to create and inspire by positively impacting one another. It’s an infectious thing, being kind to others is magic for the mind and body of the one being kind, and the one receiving kindness, especially unexpected acts of kindness.
To be open to giving and receiving kindness, I remember that we are all not so different from one another. We all have a fundamental need for love and we all struggle, from there we can grow together.
Barista and Journalism student
Salt Lake City