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The Exactitude of Kindness 2021 Kindness Contest
What is kindness exactly?
Kindness isn’t a word defined clearly in the dictionary. That definition is for us to create from our own types and spectrums of experiences, actions, insights, and views. I learn every day a new type of what it is to be kind, to do kind.
I see an act of kindness as a hundred people online encouraging one singular stranger (at least to me) to make it through when their mental health was at their lowest. It was a symphony of sympathy; the replies were chaotic but all held the same point.
I see kindness when a stranger said that they liked my writing when no one else had said a word. I do the same, liking, commenting on a work that I really did enjoy when others haven’t expressed as much. But perhaps it was more out of empathy as for me having experienced something similar.
I see kindness when people in public places help others that have fallen, that have tripped or almost. I almost fell down the stairs one time. Someone asked me if I was okay afterward. I don’t know their name (but you don’t have to know someone to be kind, do you?). I picked up a 6th grader’s fallen water bottle for them when their hands were preoccupied. I was thanked, and we both parted in the busy hallway.
I see kindness in people who smile at strangers. But for me, that’s more courageous than kindness. But kindness has to be done with courage, it does.
I see an act of kindness from fate when I was given my best friend. Or perhaps that was me being kind to them and starting off our relationship. It all comes around, I guess. But who was I to complain, or rack my brains trying to decipher whether it was an act of goodwill from fate or myself taking the lucky opportunity?
I see kindness in every nook and cranny, every surface, person and deity. But I also don’t see it everywhere. It’s inconsistent and continuous, it’s irregular and common. It’s a concept hard but so, so absolutely simple to grasp. It is passed over and over and over, in this cycle of strangers, us and friends, and maybe all. It is passed over and over, from a stone skipped on the watery surface of our universe, to the ripples that spread in our society.
Now finally, an answer to my question that was asked in the beginning. It is in fact a paradox, a thing for bored and unoccupied scholars to ponder. (Or maybe for you and me to think about too.)
But to provide my personal retaliation to the paradox(and most paradoxes): the question itself will and shall provide the answer. To add some rhythm and clever repetition to the mix, to give it poetic straightforwardness and clever clarity, I’ll reply.
Kindness is kindness at itself exactly, nothing more, nothing less.
It shows through actions more than words.