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Kindness in Today's Society

Updated on June 5, 2009

Graphic images of worn torn countries, death, undated photos of missing children and the dying Earth are splashed across the covers of newspapers and magazines. As if that is not enough to send shivers of fear through our subconsciousness, newscasters announce over the radio and television the rising number of casualties resulting from war, natural disasters, traffic accidents and gang related uprisings. All this news is real, but what ever happened to our humanity? We, as humans, have many great gifts and one such gift is the ability to empathize.

We are completely drawn into a story that is presented to us, whether it is read from a book or presented in the format of a movie, a TV show or a stream over the Internet. From the beginning of the story, we focus on what is being presented and we then begin to associate our feelings and experiences with the characters in the stories. Frequently we laugh when it's funny, cry when it's sad, become angry when injustice happens and fearful when there is danger.

Fear is very strong emotion that can be found all around us. Fear can rule a person's life, influence a culture, drive a society, and be the catalyst for change and innovation. We teach each other to be fearful of our surroundings, of other people, of new situations and new places. However, fear can be the very emotion that saves us or someone else from danger.

Amongst the graphic images, there are plenty of stories of acts of heroism where fear is turned into a powerful force that is used to save and preserve life. Not all stories are of heroism, but some are simple acts of kindness, generosity and love.

How many times have you, as an individual, received acts of kindness? For me, I experience these acts on a daily basis. A recent incident has left a great impression upon me. I was travelling to another city with a total of two bags, a carrier and my laptop. Coming from a warm climate to a snow driven city, I was completely underdressed and freezing as I was waiting for the airport shuttle to go downtown. A total stranger was standing next to me, we struck up a conversation and ended up sharing a cab downtown. When we exited the cab, I loaded my bags onto my carrier and proceeded to walk away, assuming that he would be headed in his own direction. My bags toppled off the carrier, and to my surprise, he stepped over, picked them up, re-stacked them and offered to take me to the train station, which was only two blocks away. He walked me the whole distance and did not leave my side until I boarded the train. He simply smiled and waved as the trained pulled away.

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He did not ask anything of me. He had no expectations for me. He just did what he did because he was being kind.

His very actions brought back a deluge of memories of other people who have helped me in the past, and even more recently, today. I began to list events of where I experienced acts of kindness from people around me, and my list soon grew to include events of a local nature. Then, my list grew some more and encompassed national events and now, a international list is beginning to form.

When I look at the lists, I can see how kindness is a common thread throughout all our societies, weaving together different cultures and spanning the continents. Love, generosity and kindness is everywhere around us, and we, as humans, share our unique qualities of being human.

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    • Beth100 profile image
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      Beth100 5 years ago from Canada

      Vinaya Ghimire -- Kindness is an act of compassion and an extension of understanding the needs of another, whether human, animal or plant. I believe that we all are capable of being kind and compassionate.

      Thank you for sharing Buddha's lesson.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      The Buddha did not talk about love, but he said human beings need to have compassion. We become compassionate only when we have kindness deep within our soul.

      Thanks for sharing your views.

    • Beth100 profile image
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      Beth100 5 years ago from Canada

      Seanorjohn -- Children are the best! They always remind me of how to be senstive, alert, caring and kind. Have you ever noticed how they are open to anything? We need to learn more from them. Thank you! :)

    • seanorjohn profile image

      seanorjohn 5 years ago

      Hi Beth. You are so right, kindness is all around us and it is a very underrated virtue. I am always proud of my children when they carry out acts of kindness.Voted up and beautiful.

    • Beth100 profile image
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      Beth100 5 years ago from Canada

      Minnetonka Twin -- I'm one that always looks for the good (though, it can be self damaging at time). At the end of the day, or midway through it, I take a few moments to think of the things that have happened in my day that are positive. This keeps me in touch with my positive energy and gives me a boost to finish the day right. :) Hope you're well!! :) xo

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 5 years ago from Minnesota

      Beth-You've inspired me to start writing some of these acts of kindness for my own peace and joy. It is overwhelming to see all the pain and tragedy in this world but what a great way to focus on the good. I just loved the story of the man that helped you. Thanks for the uplifting hub.

    • Beth100 profile image
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      Beth100 5 years ago from Canada

      Harvey -- How could I forget you?!? No wonder you slept so well! xox

    • Beth100 profile image
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      Beth100 5 years ago from Canada

      Husky -- Not only should we enact acts of kindness, we should recognize acts of kindness by others who do unto ourselves. So often, we are in a rush or are self-absorbed and we do not recognize or acknowledge that someone has given us something that we did not know that we needed. Every day, someone does something that has a positive impact on our life -- sooner or later.

      You are an example of someone who enacts acts of kindness. On a daily basis and at every opportunity that presents itself.

      The world could use many more of you!!! :)

    • Harvey Stelman profile image

      Harvey Stelman 5 years ago from Illinois

      Beth, Honey, sweetie, sexy, baby. What more can I say in print. It is so nice knowing I have not been forgotten. To say I missed you would be like my Hub, "My Penis Is Missing." I will sleep better. H

      P.S. He was found.

    • Beth100 profile image
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      Beth100 5 years ago from Canada

      Harvey -- Sorry for the long span in time before my reply. I haven't had internet access for quite a while, but now that I'm back, it's absolutely wonderful to be greeted with your compliments. :) I'm one very lucky girl -- to have met you, Steven, Husky and a many, many wonderful writers here. Each and everyone of you have opened your hearts to me -- you all have BIG hearts and I count myself blessed to have each of you in my life. :) xox

    • profile image

      Husky1970 5 years ago

      What a well written and meaningful hub. Acts of kindness such as you experienced are more commonplace than we sometimes think. Our world would be a so much better place if we could get these acts of kindness to be contagious. I try very hard to help others whenever I can and truly appreciate it when the shoe is on the other foot. Great hub, beth100. Hope all is well with you and that you continue to experience acts of kindness. Voted your hub up and beautiful.

    • Harvey Stelman profile image

      Harvey Stelman 5 years ago from Illinois

      Beth, Long time, no talk. You know I agree with Steven, but I will never understand not being kind. H

    • Beth100 profile image
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      Beth100 5 years ago from Canada

      Steven -- You always know what to say to bring a smile to my heart in the day. :) You know what they say: birds of a feather flock together. I believe that we attract those who we are. Thank you for the touching compliments. You've a big heart yourself! And, a great friend!! xox

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago

      I have to say that kindness is a wonderful thing Beth, and I think if anyone knows more about such a topic, then it would be you. As I think out of all the people that I've known, you probably one of the biggest hearts out of anyone that I've ever met.

      I think you raise a lot of valid points about society in general, and I'm glad that someone helped you out when you needed it that day. Then again, I'm sure you would've done the same thing for him or anyone else.

      To be honest, I think any guy wouldn't mind helping you out because your every man's dream in my mind. ;) your very pretty, smart, and you have a big heart. I guess that's why I think you'll always be an angel in my eyes. ;)

    • Beth100 profile image
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      Beth100 6 years ago from Canada

      Harvey -- You are absolutely right -- there are many good people out there! We just have to open our eyes and see them. :) And yes, I would dress like this even if it is in Churchill -- there's always a warm body around (I'm referring to the polar bears....) :D Thanks Harvey!!

    • Harvey Stelman profile image

      Harvey Stelman 6 years ago from Illinois

      Beth, If a woman looks like you, it is perfectly understandable. There are still many good people around. Bet you wouldn't dress like that in Churchill! H

    • Beth100 profile image
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      Beth100 6 years ago from Canada

      Jlbowden -- Oh Yes!!! It is better to give than to receive. To be honest, I feel that I am the one that benefits the most when I give. I have teach and have taught my children to give without any expectations in return. Finally, one of them came to me and said that he does get something back -- a fulfillment that he has never had before. This, makes my heart smile. Thank you Jl!

    • Jlbowden profile image

      James Bowden 6 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Beth:

      Unfortunately there is too much fear and hate in the world, rather than love. I believe that most people mean well for the most part, but often do not know how to express it onto others. Mainly for the reason, they were never given the love or attention they needed when growing up. This article is certainly one that everyone in the world can learn from as an example. It touched me deep down inside, and you did an excellent job through words of building one beautiful hub. And like I always say..."It's better to give than to receive"

      Jl

    • Beth100 profile image
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      Beth100 6 years ago from Canada

      Healing Touch -- The best things in life are free - peace, love, kindness, sharing, giving and hundreds of other selfless things we can do to brighten another's day. Thank you -- you brighten my day! :)

    • Healing Touch profile image

      Laura Arne 6 years ago from Minnetonka, MN

      Beth100

      I love this hub. You make us take a look at the kindness we show others and feel the gratitude for the good that has been given to us. Fabulous.

      Bless You

    • Beth100 profile image
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      Beth100 6 years ago from Canada

      Edlira -- I agree with you -- if we could stop being so fearful and learned to feel our emotions and express them in a non-violent way, the world would be a much better place. Thank you Edlira!

    • Edlira profile image

      Edlira 6 years ago

      Dear Beth, a very interesting hub indeed. I happen to think about feelings and emotions a lot and I have noticed that, unfortunately too often we let ourselves get overpowered by fear and close inwards, doubting almost everyone who approaches us on their real intentions, even when, all they want to do is a simple and beautiful act of kindness. The world would be a better place if we learned to smile more and fear less.

      My best, Edlira.

    • Beth100 profile image
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      Beth100 7 years ago from Canada

      Katee -- Taking the time to think, feel and reflect are important parts of our daily routine. Acts of kindness will not only help you, but will help others. I'm pleased to hear that you will be journalling your acts of kindness.

    • profile image

      Katee 7 years ago

      I've put my day in "pause" so I can reflect on how I treat others. A list of kind acts is a very good idea. I think that it will help me feel good at the end of the day.

    • Beth100 profile image
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      Beth100 8 years ago from Canada

      Meg,

      Thank you for being open to reflection. :)

      Beth

    • megs78 profile image

      megs78 8 years ago from quebec

      Hmmm, kindness is certainly something to think about. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to reflect.

      Megs

    • Beth100 profile image
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      Beth100 8 years ago from Canada

      Richard --

      Thanks for pointing out my dropped n's. Good thing we're using computers and not the old manual typewriters! lol

    • livewithrichard profile image

      Richard Bivins 8 years ago from Charleston, SC

      Kindness is a common bond that we all can share... nice hub and to be kind..lol check the first word of your title and the 9th word in the last paragraph... good thing we can edit. 

    • christine almaraz profile image

      christine almaraz 8 years ago from colorado springs

      Very good hub. I love the subject. I wrote a hub about poverty and adressed the some of the same issues. Very well written and thought provoking.

    • frogdropping profile image

      Andria 8 years ago

      Beth - nicely hubbed.

      And yes - is there too much fear? Thought provoking :)

      Rated up.

    • OptimistsOnly profile image

      OptimistsOnly 8 years ago from Christchruch, New Zealand

      Beautiful writing. I think everyone should follow suit and list acts of kindness they have experienced. It helps us to remember that kindness does indeed exist!

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