What happens when you look for kindness?

I once took a course where the instructor asked us to look for kindness for 21 days straight. As someone who tries to be kind regularly, I didn’t expect to learn much, but I was open to giving it a try.

As I worked through the experiment, I came to realize I had been suffering from “kindness blindness.” On most days, being tired and busy caused me to notice being cut off in traffic, the incompetent waiter, or the horrible news headlines. But with kindness in clear view, not only did the world seem kinder, it became easier for me to be more kind. 

Today, as we face a pandemic (and an uncertain U.S. presidential election), I feel the “kindness blindness” creeping back in. Reading the news each day and hearing the heartbreaking stories of loss, I feel the same fear and uncertainty that many others do. We have all faced some very dark days.

So I’ve brought this experiment back: What happens when you look for kindness?

I see the twinkling eyes behind a mask at the store. I see the way we ask each other how we’re doing, even if it’s over FaceTime. I see the way we prioritize celebrating even if we do it by standing at the end of a driveway. And with that, I reach out to others more to let them know I care. I have more gratitude for every person I connect with. I donate more, and I intentionally support businesses that I want to stay in business (even though my own budget is tighter).

I’d love to encourage you to take on this experiment with me. What happens when you look for kindness? I think you’ll see that although many things are not in our control, our ability to see kindness is.

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