Kindness 2013: beginning with small steps

I posted last week about making 2013 the year of kindness. And I have been absolutely humbled by the wonderful response. Thank you!

MJWright2011Along the way, someone pointed out, on Twitter, that kindness is a good idea – but human nature will prevent it working. And, alas, and alack, that’s quite true. History is littered with efforts to be kind which founder on the usual culprits – jealousies, greed, ego, assertions of ‘us’ over ‘them’. Human nature is multi-faceted, complex, and largely split between altruism and self interest, both personally and in terms of the groups we identify ourselves as belonging to.  Kindness exists, but it is inevitably counter-balanced with unkindness along the way. And often, alas, it is the unkindness that wins.

Why? Because unkindness often appears to be the easier course, and – unfortunately – also the more rewarding for some people. I’ll explain more about that later. But as a historian, science geek, anthropologist and general cynic I agree that we can’t eliminate the darker side of the human condition.

But we can, I think, make kindness the side that wins more often than not. If enough of us try. What’s more, I think that as the world gets more crowded, more intrusive, less private and faster, the onus is on us to make sure we do. Otherwise we risk ending up fighting over the wreckage. It’s happened before.

The thing is that, at the end of the day, kindness is rewarding; acts of kindness make the recipient feel good. It makes you feel good, for doing it. It’s also easy. Kindness starts in small ways. It can be as simple as holding a door for a stranger. Or helping someone cross the road. It can be as simple as a genuine smile. Being nice costs nothing, and gives so much

What do you figure? I’d love to hear from you on this one.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013

This series continues next week. Later this week: ‘So you want to be a writer?’ First of a series on the A-Z of the art. Check it out. Then: ‘ Inspirations. Dreams stay with you in a big country.’ And more.