The other day, I was listening to an episode of the On Being podcast when I came across the following phrase from Naomi Shihab Nye: ‘simply kind.’ Her words gave me a great deal of pause.

Often times, I think, we underestimate the power of kindness. Other times, we view kindness as something which requires too great of an effort. We would love to, say, send a nice message to someone we care about, but we don’t feel as though we would be able to adequately express ourselves. We doubt whether we could do justice to the complexity and depth of our feelings, so we choose instead to say nothing at all.

It isn’t until much later, when the relationship has fallen apart, that we regret not taking advantage of those opportunities. It is only then, when it is likely too late, that we realize how simple — how effortless, really — it would have been to say something, to say anything, and it is only then that we realize how powerful that would have been.

What I love about the phrase ‘simply kind’ is that it breaks away from the level of difficulty which is frequently associated with acts of kindness. Because, you see, kindness doesn’t have to be complicated. And, in fact, I don’t think that it’s intended to be.

I think that there is something inherently effortless about kindness, something crucial, which we have forgotten. We have chosen to make kindness complicated, and, in doing so, we have lost something of great importance along the way.

And so, my friends, I urge you to be kind. More than that, though, I urge you to be simply kind, to not overthink your acts of kindness.

Listen to people. Make time for them. Tell them how you feel. It really is as simple as that.

Jana Marie is a Croatian-born writer living amidst the restorative embrace of the Canadian Prairies.

Through her writing, she examines the interplay between self and society as she works to both illuminate and explore the power of contemplative thinking. Her recently completed two-year project, 100 Mindful Days, which combines teachings from the worlds of personal development, self-care, and wellness, will soon be her first book.

If you’d like to hear from her more often, you can subscribe to her newsletter here.

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