Kindness is like a tree falling in the forest… or like a tango… or some other pliable cliche that can be attached to just about anything you can imagine. But really, in order for kindness to work and actually mean something there has to be at least two people involved (just like a tango). There has to be a person giving the kindness and person receiving the kindness. The person receiving the kindness has to pay attention and be willing to receive it, like a tree falling in the forest, if it falls it will make a sound but if there is nobody to hear it the sound is pointless.
Since KB died and we have started on this kindness adventure I have been more aware of the kindness that other people show to me and to others. I really don’t know why I didn’t notice it before. I guess I had the blinders on like most of us do and had a tendency to see the ugly things we do to each other instead. Why would I focus on that? Our minds are very strange things. These days I see kindness everywhere and I’m starting to realize that people are kind to me every day and many times during the day. I think that being a good recipient of kindness is as important as being kind.
I have to wonder how quickly kindness would spread if we paid attention to the small things that people do for us every day and responded with genuine appreciation. My smart brain (as opposed to my stupid brain) tells me that if I give positive feedback to someone when they do something kind it is more likely to to encourage that person to continue that kindness toward others. I know it sounds like some Pavlovian experiment but it seems that most of us have already been conditioned to respond to the negative if we don’t even notice the sea of good and positive things around us every day.