March 14, 2011

The Power of Kindness

Filed under: Contributing Blogger — Tags: , , — BringChange2Mind @ 10:20 am

Kindness is not given  proper respect.

During the years I spent recovering from depression, I had lots of time to think about how I was treated by people. Some people simply ignored me, their voices not heard in 8 years now. A few came forth and not only offered to help, but actually did so. They helped me sell my vehicles, took no realtor’s commission on the sale of my house, helped me pack up and store my belongings at that time. Others simply took me for a drive around the city, always cautious of how I was doing that day. Getting out of the house was a huge event in my life at that time.

These were friends who were kind to me, thoughtful and considerate of me. This was so needed and appreciated as I struggled to regain my health. As well, when the vast majority of people I knew shunned me and my diagnosis, to receive such kindness was overwhelming , but the good kind of overwhelming.

But the idea of kindness goes beyond this considerate treatment of me. I see kindness as an authentic  expression of concern or interest, as a thought or action towards someone. We are often greeted by people with “hello, how are you?” It is simply a greeting, nothing more, and at times it rings hollow. But when I was  ill, some people asked the question and were actually concerned as to how I was doing. That simple question would provide a level of comfort.

Kindness from strangers was and is truly inspiring, such as someone being kind to me in the local bookstore. A smile from a stranger as we walked past each other on the sidewalk would provide hope that there are still nice people in the world. I am now able to return such kindness to others.

I know being kind to someone and having others be kind to me are such powerful acts due to the effect they had on me. Being kind can provide you with a sense of worth. Receiving kindness can light up your day.

Being kind only takes a moment. A  smile. Holding the door open for the person behind you. Using  words such as “please, thank you “ whether in person or in an email or message.

I see kindness as part of respecting others.  To be curt or even rude shows a lack of respect. No one has the right to behave in that manner. Being kind is simply part of being a good complete person.

I am healthy now but even recently received acts of kindness such as being shown around a new city by a new friend with dinner included, and an unexpected package in the mail from another friend still provide a mental boost.

Kindness allows us to realize that the world though too often cold can still be one of warmth and acceptance. We are part of the world, we are not alone.



  1. Receiving kindness is wonderful. But I think it takes a great deal of self-awareness and conscious effort to be sure we are truly giving the type of kindness we like to receive. It is easy to criticize others when they are unkind, and to justify our unkind actions by saying that the recipient “deserved it.” Like the article says, no one has the right to behave in a disrespectful manner toward another person. A big part of becoming healthy, for me, has been an awareness of my own behavior and its impact on others. The imporatance of this often difficult task can not be minimized.

    Comment by Angela — March 14, 2011 @ 11:23 am

  2. Marc, this is the best post. I think people totally underestimate how a kind word or jesture can make a person’s day, or help somebody who is suffering fight on. I have been on the receiving end of such words and jestures and I guarantee you they saved my life. Thanks for expressing this so well. 🙂

    Comment by Karen J Gordon — March 14, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

  3. Hopefully those that shun depressed people will learn that it’s not contagious and can healed with kindness from your continued efforts to share experiences & information.

    Very well said as usual! Thank you. Lisa Fuetsch

    Comment by Lisa Fuetsch — March 14, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

  4. I couldnt agree more! A simple act of kindness has lasting effects. I have also found in the instances where human nature is to act in a defensive way as a result of someone elses behavior, a simple act of kindness may be just what has been missing in that individual’s life. Our reaction is often to act in a similar manner and to not be kind. No one other than myself knows about my own internal struggles, and I dont assume to know what struggles others experience. We are all human, with thoughts and actions that aren’t perfect. I hope I portray kindness in even brief interactions with strangers because

    Comment by Alicia — March 14, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

  5. Great post Keith. I’m a psychiatric service dog and I agree with you completely. Kindness is critical to people with mental illness and it’s one of the things animals can help with. First of all, pets give kindness and unconditional love much more reliably than people do. That’s why the rights of people with psychiatric disabilities to emotional supports animals (pets) in no-pets housing is guaranteed under federal law and that law requires landlords to allow them without pet deposits or fees.

    In addition, we (especially dogs) can make it easier for people with psychiatric disabilities to connect with other people. You know that smile in the bookstore? My human gets them every day because I’m with her. People are attracted to a person with an animal–even if the person does not appear entirely “normal.” The world treats a person accompanied by a dog (or parrot or iguana) better than a person alone. People also feel better about themselves and are more likely to look at other people (you can’t see the smile if you’re looking at your feet) when we’re around. A professor of psychology at Yale wrote a great article entitled, “Every time I recover enough I borrow a dog.”

    For more information on these points (including a link to the professor’s article)check out my website, particularly my Useful Links page:

    Comment by Maeve, Psychiatric Service Dog and Advocate — March 15, 2011 @ 8:49 am

  6. Don’t forget the inherent value of being kind as well! Sometimes if I’m having a crappy day making the effort to be nice to someone else is the best way to snap myself out of it! Being connected and making a difference, even a small one, is completely underrated!

    Comment by Lynoth — March 17, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

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