Surprised by Kindness

I recently went on vacation with my family, and not long after arriving we couldn’t help but to point out how nice the people were who lived there.

I find this to be a very interesting thing that all of us seem to do, which is pointing out and even being surprised at the fact that a large group of people in a certain area or setting can be so nice. Specifically, there are two things I find fascinating and thought provoking when it comes to this situation that I’m sure all of us have been in.

1. Why are we so surprised that people can be NICE?
2. What does that say about who WE are?

I think it’s astounding that we live in a world where it is a surprise and it is something that needs to be pointed out when people are genuinely kind and nice to you. Why isn’t this the standard for how we live our lives? When can we live in a place where we’re more surprised by unpleasant, cold people than we are by kind, compassionate ones? This phenomenon is something I think about almost every day because I myself feel surprised when people are overwhelmingly nice, and I get so discouraged that I fall into this trap of being surprised, it’s just simply because it is true.

To my second point, I think this fact says a lot about who we are as a society, both locally and globally. I live my life attempting to be nice to anyone and everyone who passes my way, even if that means just a simple smile or thank you where one may not be necessary. I’m not saying that everyone doesn’t do this, but the mere fact that we point out when people are so nice tells me that most of us aren’t. And this says something about the places we travel to who all seem to be so nice. Different cultures, even within the U.S. alone act and behave differently, and in some cases, more pleasantly and kindly based on where you go. Sure, this is a generalization, but we do tend to notice this phenomenon, making it a fairly agreeable one.

So I challenge you, both in your mind and the way you think, and your matter and how you present yourself to others, to be gentle and kind to all of those around you. You’ll feel better about yourself, you’ll make someone feel better about themselves, and you’ll be contributing to make our world a place where we aren’t thrown off when someone is genuinely and sincerely nice, and instead one where we are thrown off and want to correct those who act in any way other than with pure kindness.

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