November 13th is “World Kindness Day”—a day dedicated to kindness, understanding, and tolerance.
Since 1998, when the first World Kindness Day took place, advocates have encouraged individuals to become more aware of kindness in general—how each of us treats one another and to perhaps improve kindness among individuals and nations.
Apart from being an abstraction, kindness is something that remains central to all religious doctrines around the world. From Buddhists to Christians, kindness is encouraged and remains something to be cultivated and practiced each day. Moreover, the discipline of philosophy—both in eastern and western traditions—emphasize kindness as a sort of ethical principal.
But with the world constantly facing war, economic conflicts, rising nationalism, and other problems, is it possible for kindness as an abstract principal to work? How do we become more kind toward one another?
Many eastern philosophies, as noted above, make kindness central to their thought processes. In Buddhism, for example, kindness plays a central role; moreover, practitioners are encouraged to treat each individual with kindness . . . even when the favor is not reciprocated. Showing kindness, then, is a way for people to rise above their base tendencies and become something better.
Elsewhere around the globe, one can find kindness in western philosophy. One specific area, “care ethics,” for example, encourages individuals to act in accordance with the concept of “care”—in other words, caring and kindness typically go hand in hand, and it remains important to remember them both.
Another general area to find kindness is in the three Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The golden rule, to treat others the wat you would like to be treated, appears throughout these religions sacred texts. Because the emphasis of World Kindness Day on November 13th is on the world, it remains important to include these traditions that so many individuals adhere to.
One important reason to acknowledge World Kindness Day is that being kind not only helps others, but it can also make ourselves feel good, too. Kindness in and of itself is a good a noble goal, but being kind to others in many practical ways can also improve our own self-esteem as well. A number of ways to be kind to others can be to volunteer, call someone who you know needs help and let him or her know that you are there for support, hold the door open for a stranger, and, finally, saying “thank you” and “your welcome” can also go a long way.
Finally, it remains important to preform little acts of kindness each day, but having a dedicated, global day devoted to kindness will surely remind us what matters.