Compassion and kindness
"A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal."
Kindness is powerful. There are several health benefits from simply being nice. Kindness is so powerful, those who witness the act get a boost from it. Kindness has the power to create a better environment for us to work, live and play in. When we are surrounded by people who are treating each other with more compassion and kindness, more people tend to be in a better mood. Conversely, an environment where compassion and kindness is lacking can become a recipe for bad moods and negative attitudes. This highlights the power of compassion and kindness.
In 2010 I had the opportunity to volunteer for a teen-led weekend retreat about self-empowerment, Operation Snowball, which also emphasized the benefits of a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle. The program name was inspired by the idea that, “If I have a positive impact on you, you can have a positive impact on someone else and the effect snowballs.” I only knew one person at the retreat, but it didn't matter. I was surrounded by so much compassion and kindness from the adult volunteers and the few dozen teens who helped organize and run an entire weekend for a couple hundred teens!
I was overwhelmed with love and joy from all of the positive energy flowing throughout the campground all weekend. It felt very authentic because of how everyone genuinely cared for each other's well-being and supported each other. The kindness I received never seemed forced or fake. It was easy to be kind to everyone else since they were so friendly and accepting of everyone at the retreat. If people were struggling with personal issues, they were also surrounded and supported by people who cared. The weekend was so powerful I ended up returning for about a dozen more weekends as an adult volunteer.
Today, the Snowball community in Naperville, IL is sending heart and snowflake emojis to an adult volunteer going through her first rounds of chemotherapy. She gets showered with the Snowball Love every Friday to help her stay strong and maintain a positive attitude. It's these acts of compassion and kindness that truly impact everyone involved. We read stories every day about people being generous and kind with their money and time. It reminds us of the goodness in humanity. If it benefits everyone involved, hopefully, it inspires us to express more compassion and kindness more often, to ourselves and others.