Photo by Ben Hutchins

Kindness is a Gift

Janee Hitesman

My belief in kindness came from when I was a little girl. The home I grew up in was fairly broken, and there were so many pathways for negativity, anger, and danger to come into the home I was growing up in. As a result, I had to learn how to cope with this, and try as much as I could to prevent it from happening. However, when we are very young, we virtually have no power. The only way I discovered to find myself and peace, was to be kind. This developed my belief in the power of being kind and the beauty it contains. 

There is so much anger, negativity, jealousy, greed, and warfare in our world today, and we can often find ourselves completely consumed by it, unknowingly. We can drown in the hurt of others, and our own hurt. We make decisions in our day-to-day lives that affect others, and we have so much power in the things we say to others and ourselves. While we may live in oblivion, and gasp for air that isn't poisoned with pain, we have the opportunity to transform our lives, every single day. It comes from our decision-making, it comes from the oblivion and the things we do and speak out into the world without listening to understand, rather than listening to reply. We have the strength and control it takes to change the world. Too often do we underestimate the power we have in going the extra mile, taking the time to listen, having the courage, to be honest, and having a servant’s heart. To always put others first and never allow cloudy, first-hand judgments to get in the way of serving others in whatever way they needed. With this being said, I believe in the power of giving to people you may never receive from.  I believe in lifting people up, while we may be beyond the ocean floor. I believe in being self-sacrificial and putting ourselves second. I believe in the power of kindness, which can redeem more than what destruction takes. 

Kindness is important because it gives us the opportunity to be a light for others in a dim world, full of the surrounding emotions which we can be consumed. Not only does it give us the power to rise by lifting others, but it gives us the power to feed others’ happiness. We can surround ourselves with people who want to see us do well, and who encourage us. We can grow through each other and with each other, within the power of kindness. We have no way of knowing who could be in need of just a sliver of kindness, and we have the power to heal and give that to someone. If we knew the impact we could have on others just by taking extra time to be servants to someone else, we could change the world one person’s life at a time. We could see the world differently, and be so much more open to the opportunities we have to help others or to be changed by them. No matter how small we think the outcome will be, it is still a difference. And once we allow kindness to consume us, we can make all the change in the world. We have the power to change the world through kindness and that is one of the most important things we can do. 

When I was 10 years old I had moved away from my hometown because my parents had split, and I was dealing with a lot of anger, confusion, depression, and anxiety, at the youngest age. Due to this, I was always in a very numb state, just trying to look for ways to get these emotions out and into the world. I was brand new at the middle school I was going to and I wasn’t very popular, I was bullied and struggling in school. There weren’t a lot of opportunities that I could see to help my emotions, or even reach out to make friends. But, one day, as I was sitting alone in class, not focusing on anything the teacher was speaking about, a little girl with brown eyes and long brown hair came up to me and introduced herself. She asked me questions about myself, about my time in school, and about what I liked to do even in my free time. For the longest time, I had felt no peace, no breath of fresh air. My head was a complete tornado of emotions, of which none were positive. And for the first time, I had all of those which I lacked at that moment. I had felt relief, comfort, and friendship all in one conversation. She introduced me to her group of friends, and I had people to sit with at lunch. I had real friendships and I had an escape from the emotions and hurt I felt at home. The choice she made, significant to her or not, meant everything to me without her knowledge because her brief, meaningful choice to make a new friend through kindness was a choice she made, perhaps without even realizing it, and it meant everything to me.

Our experiences in life will be completely different from one another. For my new friend, it was a small decision to decide to speak to the new girl and make a new friend. For me, it was one of the happiest and most important experiences I had in a long time. Things that we decide and may feel, are always going to be different in comparison. Her small decision to be kind was a completely life-changing moment for me. The kindness she gave to me was healing, and important when it could have meant nothing to her. I experienced a friendship that was truthful, giving without ever expecting and full of true desire to love in kindness. However, because of that instance, I will remember it forever. It has influenced all of my decisions today to be kind and meet everyone I encounter with a warm countenance and always be the best version of myself. Not even for me, but for others, because that is what everyone deserves in life.

The choices I make to be a good friend and to make more interactions with people that can change their day, life, or even just a minute in their lives are backed by the idea that I owe it to everyone I love and know, and may not even know yet to be someone that I am proud of. I was a broken, young girl, with no hope visible, and a small interaction that began with kindness completely changed my life. I believe in the power of kindness because it heals more than anything destruction can ever take away from us. Kindness is a gift that everyone can afford to give, and everyone has the room to receive. We can be nice, where we are acting in reaction to social imprinting to appear civilized, or pleasant. Anyone can decide to be kind, without any reason not to be nice. I am talking about kindness, which is reflected through generosity, compassion, and the desire to care for others and the world. The strength of kindness will last, through the true acts of love, creating lasting and truthful friendships and relationships. I believe in kindness because I have grown in a world without it, and I have never looked back. 

Janee Hitesman is a current senior at Boise State University, pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice, Technical Communication, and Writing for Change. She has successful experience in creative writing and photography, centered around the strong desire to cultivate love and kindness through her work in Boise, Idaho.

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