What Kindness Should Really Mean In Today's World

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group of friends

By Marissa Ann Selemba

For the longest time, I have always been unsure of who I am.

I have always exhausted myself and wasted my time for people who did nothing for me. I would compromise my self-worth and who I am, to be someone that other people could love.

But what did that do for me?

For the past two years, I ignored my needs and mental health to satisfy someone who never saw my worth — someone who never truly practiced “kindness.”

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Now, let me clarify something: this is not an article intending to bash an old flame, by any means. This is me getting the closure I need and addressing something that I think everyone in society needs to hear, for their own sake.

It is so important for people to know that their experiences and feelings are valid, and should not be quieted to appease society. No one should ever feel that they should be quiet out of fear of what reaction it will get.

Kindness. What is it? Because it’s so much more than holding the door open for others and helping an old lady to their car with her groceries. This goes beyond all the stereotypical definitions society likes to label as being “kind.”

For me, being kind means being understanding and patient. It means setting aside all judgements, and not making someone feel irrelevant for their shortcomings. It’s not using power over someone to get what you want and need.

There are little things involved in kindness that can go a long way in any relationship.

To be kind is offering your helping hand to someone in need. It’s putting aside your stress from that day just to sit down and ask your friend or significant other how their day was. It is offering to do the dishes after your partner spent hours at work and then still cooked dinner.

It’s appreciating the simple, yet big gestures someone does: such as cooking, cleaning, making a card for you for the holidays, driving you somewhere so you wouldn’t need to yourself.

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It is not belittling someone and telling them they aren’t enough. It’s not sitting back and having someone cook and clean up without appreciation. It’s not telling someone that you are tired of hearing about their day because it brings you “down.”

Kindness is respecting someone and not demeaning them or killing their self-esteem and confidence. It’s never degrading someone by calling them names. Above all, it is by no means raising a hand against that person.

It’s important for society to practice kindness in their day to day interactions.

I want each and every person reading this to know that you should never allow someone to have control over you. Especially to the point where it completely changes everything you once were.

Know when to get up and walk away from any relationship, friendship, or environment where kindness is not being served.

Your mental health and energy are too important to live a life filled with negativity and toxicity. It’s not easy; I mean, I’m just realizing this, and I am slowly starting to realize my worth because of it.

So it’s never too late to practice kindness, especially with yourself and those around you.

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Marissa Ann Selemba is a writer for Unwritten whose work focuses on lifestyle, pop culture, and career topics.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.