“For every door that’s been opened to me, I’ve tried to open my door to others. And here is what I have to say, finally: Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”– Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama’s words inspire me to show more openness, warmth, and compassion to those around me. She demonstrates a recognition that she has benefitted from being the recipient of kindness (or “open doors”), and relates the importance of opening our doors to others. “Inviting one another in” enables connection and builds communities. Showing warmth and openness to others strengthens everyone.
I work as a software engineer. Throughout my education and career, I’ve been the recipient of many acts of kindness, both big and small. For me, open doors look like the colleague who was willing to mentor me when I was in need of guidance or the professor who spent time with me outside of class to issue career advice. Open doors also look like the boss who complimented me on my performance or the coworker who showed genuine interest in trying to understand my life outside of work.
I’ve seen how acts of kindness have enabled me to be more confident and more motivated. The doors others have opened to me have shaped my career and my life. I’ve also seen how my genuine attempts to open doors to others have made a positive difference in both their lives and mine. When we show affection and consideration to others, our worldview expands and our lives become more meaningful. Kindness breaks down barriers of division and builds bridges of connection and understanding, and we all benefit from strength connection enables.