Let’s replace negativity with kindness

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jeannette kaplun focus on kindnessWhen I see so much negativity around me, I remind myself the difference that kindness makes. Kind words not only make somebody feel better just by hearing them, but they also give great satisfaction to the person sharing his or her kindness.

I do not know why sarcasm seems to be the coolest thing. Even worse: it’s as if there is an unspoken race to destroy others or make them feel like crap. Aside from gossip (which has ALWAYS existed) some days all I read or see on social media and TV is aggressive comments, mean words or extreme sarcasm. Too many seem to feel proud and empowered by kicking somebody when they’re down or an easy target. Despite all the public condemnation of bullying, I see bullies every single day on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Online bullying can be very subtle, yet it’s constantly there and has driven more than one friend to close their social media accounts or even abandon blogging altogether.

Even if human nature is flawed and has many defects, I prefer to focus on the positive and on kindness. A few years ago my husband taught me the importance of finding even one single thing to praise others about. Especially when they need a smile. When we started dating, it always caught my attention to see him telling the old ladies in the elevator that he loved their hair. Their smiles were blinding. Now when I am in an elevator with an elderly woman, I will praise her blouse or compliment her on her hairstyle. At the supermarket, I take the time to ask the cashier about their day (and listen to his or her answer) and look them in the eye.

I know many of my friends have had enough of the negativity and have tried to stop it. They share inspiring quotes, cute pictures of their kittens or colorful flowers. They’ll ask who has good news to share (Danielle, I’m thinking about you in particular). They don’t pick apart other people. They try to counteract all the mean-spirited words that seem to have become the norm. However, it is true that what hurts, is mean or negative tends to be more noticeable. For some reason, I feel those who are always sharing uplifting posts and words are still in the minority.

It is easy to catch the sarcasm bug and to jump on the negativity bandwagon, but next time you are about to say something, ask yourself if your words are necessary, if they’re constructive or you’re honestly just seeking a reaction. Perhaps you’ll be surprised by the number of times we are about to say something that contributes nothing to the conversation or even worse, our words will make someone else feel bad just for the sake of it. This is something I try to teach my kids as well, even if many adults have forgotten these lessons.

I am painfully aware of my own imperfections and defects, yet I’m consciously trying to do and be better. I want to replace the negative with the positive. Will you join me? I hope we can get more brave people to be kind rather than destructive.

Lee en español: A reemplazar la negatividad con amabilidad

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