Eroding Divisive Thinking; Let’s Start a Kindness Revolution

By Mikel Ortega from Errenteria, Basque Country, Spain, with a retouche by Richard Bartz. See the original file here. [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

A wise person once told me “give freely or don’t give at all”. This sentiment has stuck with me for years now, and it has become one of many indispensable bits of wisdom that I have learned to live by. Giving for me is just another word for expressing kindness. When we offer a kind gesture, or word, or a physical gift of some sort, it should always be an act of kindness. It should be an expression of love and friendship, a gift that transfers something positive to the receiver.

The act of giving and living generously is rewarding beyond measure. We all have a wealth of gifts at our disposal to offer freely and without restraint. Most of us however, have been taught to mind our own, to stick with our own, to be wary of any outsiders.

© Francis C. Franklin / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Contrary to what some people may want to admit, we are all social creatures and we are reliant on our interactions with others to fulfill and sustain us. We seek acceptance. We seek meaningful communication. We look toward each other eagerly awaiting a kind word or an invitation. Life is meaningless without relationships. We function at our highest levels when our social needs are met, and conversely, at our lowest when they are not.

Human beings will not always get along, and the truth of this statement seems to become even more true as we age. This can be seen as we watch our young ones grow. They go from running into each others arms at first sight to a slow and steady introversion, and they become more reserved as though that intrinsic trust they once held toward one another has been called into question. Why would this be?

By Andreas Tille (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This behavioral change may well be the introduction of divisive ideologies that are rampant throughout societies. It seems that as we grow, we adopt ever increasing ways to recede into ourselves and concoct elaborate excuses to exclude others from our ever shrinking circle of friends and family.

When we are taught to be wary of the ‘other’ or the ‘outsider’ there is no shortage of ways to rationalize how to do so. We simply look in the mirror and at our immediate friends and family and exclude all else. In a world so rich with diversity it becomes a game of familiarity. A biased system that perpetuates the death of the oneness and unity we felt as children. It creates a self fulfilling prophecy that has the individual utterly alone and isolated once fully realized. It is a cancerous progression of divisive thoughts that compartmentalizes the self into an ever shrinking safe haven, as more and more space is occupied by the ‘others’. This self- imprisonment hurts us deeply.

Felice Beato [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Essentially, we are all the same. Socially we all need and want the same things. We can simultaneously offer and receive these meaningful interactions with one another. Offer up a smile and a nod, a gentle hug, a nudge and a smirk, a kind word, a pat on the back, a heartfelt expression of any kind- and that interaction- no matter how minute or short in time- will leave an indelible mark on both of your lives. Earlier I said that we all have a wealth from which we can freely give, and that wealth is our true-selves. The part of ourselves that does not listen to the chatter of mind that spews fear and anxiety.

Show the world that you don’t buy into the bigotry, the racism, the sexism, the chauvinism, the political shell game or any other exclusionary system of indoctrination. No matter what you held against someone yesterday, you are free to accept them today and offer them your kindness. A lifetime of division can be destroyed with just one kind expression. Forgive, Heal, and Live. Lets start a kindness revolution!!

Originally Published on www.thinkhub.org

Written by Thomas Parisi

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