Leafing through the front pages of newspapers from around the world, it seems that there is room only for catastrophic news. Yet, there exists a silent universe composed of small acts that can truly make a difference and make the world a better place to live in.
Changing the world… it might seem like something very difficult to do and that it requires special talents, but it’s not. There is something that anyone can practice, which is entirely free and doesn’t involve a great expenditure of energy. I’m talking about kindness. I don’t mean grand gestures that make a big splash, but small acts of kindness, done modestly and quietly. Try it yourself and take a moment to observe the effects it will have on you and the people who receive them.
Every time we perform an act of kindness, our body releases serotonin, which helps improve mood, reduce anxiety and depression, and oxytocin, which promotes pro-social behaviors like altruism, generosity, and empathy. The people around you who witness your acts of kindness will, in turn, be positively influenced, as their bodies will also release serotonin and oxytocin, encouraging them to imitate further acts of kindness.
A kind word, a caring gesture, polite behavior: we have numerous opportunities every day to be more considerate of the people around us, be they friends, colleagues, or perfect strangers. People to whom you have shown kindness will, in turn, do the same for others, and so on. The uniqueness of kindness is that it’s the only thing in the world that multiplies when shared.
As an expert in etiquette and good manners, but above all as a mother, I can confidently state that our children do not follow our advice, but follow our example. Through our daily behaviors, comprised of small gestures, we contribute to creating a kind society of tomorrow. Practicing saying “Thank you,” “Please,” “You’re welcome,” and “Sorry” represents a small seed that will one day grow into the plant of kindness in our garden. As Aesop said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted,” and all the kind words and actions that children absorb naturally form their mosaic of kindness to be spent in future relationships.
All of this doesn’t require much, but it can make a big difference for everyone. It only takes a small act of kindness to trigger a chain reaction that can expand exponentially and can truly change the world.
Isn’t this the world you would like to see? Then, do your best too, and be a part of the change.