Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Kickstart Kindness Now


 When I was a small child, I used to admire strong and big people. They looked all powerful and I would be in awe of them. As I grew up, I realized that intelligence has more power than muscle strength and the admiration shifted to smarter people. As a teen I admired rich people, those who were professionally successful and made tons of money. But as I matured, I learned to admire people who are kind to others. 

When I went through cancer, I feared that I may not understand the pain or suffering of others. If someone would complain of a headache, would I respond with a retort that, “I am going through cancer, what big deal is a headache?”. The fear was there as I fought my battles with my own cancer, as a caregiver and a mom to a special needs child.  But fortunately, cancer made me better and not a bitter person. It triggered kindness in me. I developed empathy and felt sorry for anyone who was suffering even if it was a minor issue. 

I did my diploma in Counseling Skills after my cancer experience and started my journey as a counsellor. I would come across numerous issues, but never did I feel any issue was trivial which did not require counseling. My own challenges made me understand all the challenges others faced with a better vision and kind heart. 

Many people associate kindness with money and donations, but that is not the truth. Even animals show kindness and that is what touches us more effectively. A smile, an honest compliment, offer to hold a baby for a mom who is struggling with her purse to find something, listening to a friend,.a family member, a colleague who is having a bad day, guiding those who are knew to an experience with your knowledge, offering your place in line for an elderly person, thanking someone who is doing their job, appreciating regular service givers with a personalized compliment are just few of things you can include in the act of kindness. See, there is no need to rob a bank for you to be kind. In fact, I feel that if you are too kind to others with money, you are actually holding them back from realizing their own potential. 

It is very important that we be kind to our children, especially when they are vulnerable. They come across failures, fears, anxiety and doubts. Let us never be ruthless to them and destroy their confidence with our unkind words. The scars left by the unkind words of parent are the worst scars we carry on our souls. 

I developed kindness towards my children and my family as well. It is not just the strangers who deserve our kindness, our loved ones deserve more. 

I was not the only one being kind, people around me were kind to me as well. It was an inspiration for me, because the feeling I had towards those people who were kind to me when I went through chaos was completely awesome. Kindness brought in optimism, increased my self-esteem, I felt more energetic, calm, happy and healthy. 

There came a time when finally I realized there is another part of kindness as well, where we should be kind ourselves. That knowledge came too late, but I am glad that it came finally when it had to. Better late than never!

I had tons of responsibilities on my shoulders, when I was fighting cancer and going through chemotherapy. Taking care of my special needs daughter was topping the list. I was blaming myself for abruptly stopping breast feeding her, not being able to carry her much, and not finding a solution to her problem. I felt responsible for her condition. 

Few years later when I was carrying her to the hospital for her physiotherapy, I stumbled on a stone and had a fall. She came crashing with me on the road and her hands and legs got abrasions. Again, another bout of guilt hit me hard. I picked her up and rushed to the hospital. Her doctor had a look at her and told me to stop worrying because it was minor abrasions and she would be alright. There was nothing serious. When talking to me, he looked at my foot and was shocked to see a swelling as big as a tiny apple there. I had not seen it either. Immediately he ordered me to have an x-ray done. I was not carrying money with me other than the one for my daughter’s physiotherapy. The doctor paid for my x-ray which showed a chip on the metatarsal bone and I needed to rest my foot. He put my feet in elastic compression bandages and sent me home by paying for the taxi as well. He allowed a nurse to take care of my daughter when he was helping me out. I was speechless with his kindness. When I was leaving the hospital, he said something which changed me forever, “It is good to be kind to your child and take care of her and others in your family, but you should be caring and kind to yourself as well. You have been through a lot and you deserve some kindness yourself not from others, but from you. Come out of the guilt that you made her have a fall. It is not your fault. Be kind to yourself”. 

I learned something new that day and from then on, I have been a bit kinder and nicer to myself. I learned to forgive myself more easily. I realized that I have been doing my best for my daughter, and what happened was beyond my control. I had to stop breastfeeding her due to my cancer, I had to reduce carrying her due to my chemo and mastectomy and her condition had to be accepted and not resolved.  It brought about a feeling of great liberation, as though I was released from a prison. Kindness and compassion has great power. 

My life experiences apart, research has shown that kindness boosts our body’s natural oxytocin levels which is the feel good hormone of our brain. Oxytocin reduces inflammation which is linked to all kinds of diseases in the body, including diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, obesity, and migraines. Shouldn’t we spend a little on kindness and avoid all those expensive treatments and medicines?

Let us not wait for kindness to come to us, but let us kickstart kindness from here, now and with us.


  1. Kickstarting kindness, I like that!

  2. beautiful post. Kickstarting kindness is a way to heal the world, but kindness to ourselves is so very important.


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