“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind;
the second is to be kind, and the third is to be kind.”
~ Henry James
It is always good to be kind but since November 13th is World Kindness Day, now is a perfect time to formally celebrate the concept of kindness.
November 13th was chosen because it marks the opening day of the first World Kindness Movement conference, which was held in Tokyo in 1998. Every year since World Kindness day has been commemorated on that date.
The World Kindness Movement is without religious or political affiliation; it exists simply to foster goodwill between all nations.
Twenty seven countries belong to the movement: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Nepal, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Romania, Scotland, South Korea, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States.
Ways to Be Kind
Here are some ideas for expressing kindness to others and to ourselves:
- Be Compassionate: Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” We all experience challenges, pain, hardships, sadness, disappointment, and loss in life. It is good to remind ourselves of this before we say or do something that might be unkind.
- Understand Imperfection: One of the most common ways we can be kind to others (and especially ourselves) is to let go of the idea that we need to be perfect. Forgive yourself and others for imperfections. Remember that we are human—perfection is an impossible and frustrating standard.
- Be Present: It is easy to be distracted by the world around us, with a million items on our to-do list and endless communication via apps, texts, and emails. Sometimes the biggest gift of kindness is to simply show up and ‘be there’ for people and ourselves.
- Listen: Listening is tough, particularly in our hurried, fast-paced world. One of the best ways to be kind is to pay attention and hear those around us.
- Be Grateful: There is great kindness in expressing gratitude. Appreciate the little things. Say thank you to everyone in your life.
Why Being Kind Is Important
There is an old saying that ‘what goes around comes around,’ and this is absolutely true for kindness.
Kindness is transformational.
As Aldous Huxley said, “People often ask me what the most effective technique for transforming their life is. It is a little embarrassing that after years and years of research and experimentation, I have to say that the best answer is—just be a little kinder.”
Some scientific studies suggest that giving can trigger a rush of endorphins (called the ‘helper’s high’), which can result in a heightened sense of well-being, reduced anxiety and stress, lower depression, and even a longer life.
Equally, kindness promotes social connection, which creates a virtuous circle where ‘kindness begets kindness.’
How to Celebrate World Kindness Day
- Give at least three compliments to people around you.
- Write a list of things you love about a friend/family member and show it to them.
- Post something positive on social media.
- Say thank you to someone.
- Deliver items to an animal shelter, like blankets, toys, and paper towels. Animals, as well as humans, need kindness!
- Call someone you have been missing.
- Eat plant-based.
The plant-based lifestyle is all about kindness—being kind to ourselves, to animals, and to the planet.
So on November 13th, treat yourself to a yummy plant-based dessert like our Apple Cinnamon Mug Cake.
Happy World Kindness Day to all!