Today is World Kindness Day, and while we don’t normally celebrate every designated day on the calendar on this blog, we are here for this one. We are at a time in our history when mistrust, miscommunication and meanness seem to dominate the culture. As communication professionals we not only see it all, but are also subjected to it in our personal and professional lives.
The theme of World Kindness Day (or week in some places) is “Be Kind Whenever Possible.” These simple words empower us to transform the toxicity and negativity that threatens to choke our humanity. Yes, the world is on fire and we are more divided than ever before, but when we seek to be kind, even in the face of disagreement it lowers the temperature.
On this World Kindness Day, it is my hope that we will not only be kind to others but to ourselves. Let this be the day when we become activists for returning to civil discourse, and respect for all human beings regardless of their belief. Let us celebrate our differences rather than using them as warring factions where you are “for” or “against”.
We will not transform the world with one single day (or week) but every act of kindness is a pebble in the ocean of change. Below are a few ways that you can begin to create that wave of change.
- Be kind to yourself. When we extend grace and kindness to ourselves, it is much easier to extend that externally. Watch the words that you speak to yourself. Are you beating yourself up over perceived failures? Are you bullying yourself with negative self-talk? Change the tape you play in your own head and be mindful of your own humanity today.
- Smile. I have long believed that a smile is our best accessory. Smiling at others has a way of spreading joy. It’s free, and easy. It’s also hard to be unkind when you smile. So whether you are interacting face-to-face, via voice or in writing, smile. Your smile will change how you respond and others will feel it too.
- Don’t let offense be your default. When offense is your go-to, you will see reasons to be offended everywhere. Far too often we react with offense and miss the context of another person’s words or actions. Everyone is not intentionally being mean. Take a beat, and assess before reacting. If you respond to a situation (or are required to for your work) remember this year’s theme and be kind whenever possible.
- Feed your joy. One way to practice kindness is to feed your own joy. Create an environment that brings you joy. Look for ways to spread that joy every single day. How can you be kind to someone else? Being kind to others gives back to us too!
- Block the toxicity. It feels harder to do these days, but it is more important than ever. Communication professionals must be plugged in to a certain extent but you are not obligated to be “in the know” about everything. Fiercely guard who and what inhabits your space. Cleanse your inboxes, social media feeds and friends list, if necessary. Being a PR professional does not mean that you have to welcome bullies and toxic people into your life.
Let World Kindness Day be the breath of fresh air we all need. Use it to refresh and refuel you so that you can continue the kindness trend long past this day.
Photo: Credit:Victoria Kaipetskaya via iStock by Getty Images