Right from the moment of our birth, we are under the care and kindness of our parents, and then later on in our life when we are oppressed by sickness and become old, we are again dependent on the kindness of others. Since at the beginning and end of our lives we are so dependent on other's kindness, how can it be in the middle that we would neglect kindness towards others?
Research has shown that a simple act of kindness directed toward another improves the functioning of the immune system and stimulates the production of serotonin in both the recipient of the kindness and the person extending the kindness. Kindness extended, received or observed beneficially impacts the physical health and feelings of everyone involved.
In the midst of global crises such as pollution, wars and famine, kindness may be too easily dismissed as a 'soft' issue, or a luxury to be addressed after the urgent problems are solved. But kindness is the greatest need in all those areas - kindness toward the environment, toward other nations, toward the needs of people who are suffering. Until we reflect basic kindness in everything we do, our political gestures will be fleeting and fragile.
Something similar happens on the other side of the equation: Giving kindness does us as much good as receiving it. . . . The true benefit of kindness is being kind. Perhaps more than any other factor, kindness gives meaning and value to our life, raises us above our troubles and our battles, and makes us feel good about ourselves.
I have a very simple philosophy of life: Kindness. Ferocious, unrelenting, ruthless, committed, passionate, kindness. Life is sacred everywhere. We all have better things to do than beat each other up. Arguing for the exception is to invest it with energy, it's to negotiate the loophole. The commitment to kindness must be total.
It's not fiction's job to be photographically representative of reality. If I want to make a fictional world where there's no kindness, this doesn't mean I believe there's no kindness in the real world. In fact, what it may mean is that I very much value kindness. Like if you make a painting in which only greens are allowed, it wouldn't mean you don't believe in blue.
I grew up playing football and hunting; and went to military school and then into the Marine Corps. Kindness is not a valued trait. That's why I had to learn kindness. As I grow older I'm finding it's something I definitely need to put focus on, thought and practice. Kindness actually comes from the heart, so it's really stretching inside of me. It's been quite a magical journey for me to learn to be kinder in my dealing[s] with other people.
The practice of kindness is the daily, friendly, homely caring form of love. It is both humble-a schoolboy bringing his teacher a bouquet of dandelions-and exalted-a fireman giving his life to save someone else's. Kindness is love with hands and hearts and minds. It is both whimsical-causing our faces to crack into a smile-and deeply touching-causing our eyes to shimmer with tears. And its miraculous nature is such that the more acts of kindness we offer, the more of them we have to give, for acts of kindness are always drawn from the endless well of love.
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