The reason why kindness should be the main keyword in 2023

by Marzia Parmigiani
13 minutes read
The Reason Why Kindness Should Be the Main Keyword in 2023

Why Kindness Should Be the Main Keyword in 2023

At the beginning of a new year, it is inevitable to pause to reflect on what has just ended and try to catch a glimpse of what this new period will be.

Our increasingly global society is characterized in these years by uncertainty. We come from the difficulties of a pandemic that still manages to strike on, not only an economic but also a social and psychological level.

We all feel that we must work toward improvement despite the difficulties. And apart from the necessary interventions to be put in place politically and financially, there is a mission to which we are all called. To reflect on the concept of kindness.

Putting the person back at the center

But what does kindness mean and why should it be a 2023 main keyword? Why is it important to talk about kindness? Well, this concept harkens back to altruism, and when we talk about altruism it is inevitable to evoke the idea of cooperation.

From a biological and evolutionary perspective, we know how cooperation among members of a species is basic to ensuring survival.

Connecting with the Other through kind acts not only enables us to satisfy our psychological needs for relationship and belonging. Therefore, we can say that kindness has positive effects on both the social and individual levels.

Kindness main keyword 2023: why cultivating kindness is so important?

Try to remember what you felt the last time you performed a kind act. The first thing is a feeling of well-being, a sense of contentment and soft warmth that envelops us deep inside.

Translated into biochemical language, being kind turns on the brain’s reward systems and brings pleasure. So being kind not only brings well-being to the beneficiary, but also increases the well-being and satisfaction of the person performing a positive action.

Enacting kindness, increases overall satisfaction and improves mood because it can stimulate the release of serotonin and oxytocin, which are two neurotransmitters that can reduce negative emotions such as anxiety and fear.

In addition, being kind is especially helpful to people with self-esteem problems, because it can improve self-image.

In other words, putting people back at the center and harnessing the universal power of kindness, can revolutionize the current order. Plus, it helps to build a new paradigm based on caring for people, ideas, uniqueness, and the world we live in.

“To be kind does not require heroic actions, but just small gestures that can be practiced in everyday life.”

M. P.

Holding the door for a stranger; bringing shopping bags to an elderly person; and offering coffee to a colleague, are just a few examples.

According to Rowland & Curry (2019) even larger commitments, like helping a friend move, accompanying someone to the airport just to avoid the stress of public transportation can have a really positive impact on our psychological well-being.

Importantly, according to Aknin et al. (2013) people benefit more from kindness if they choose to be kind, but not when they feel compelled to do so.

A recent Oxford University survey shows that we can increase our happiness levels, when we are kind both to people with whom we have close ties and to individuals with whom we have weaker ties, such as a stranger.

Finally, observing others do kind acts and being kind to ourselves, can increase our levels of happiness and personal satisfaction.

Kindness main keyword 2023: kindness as a universal value

From these premises, it is easy to understand that kindness constitutes a universal value that each of us can put into practice without too much effort, but it has the enormous power to transform everything into a positive.

If each of us made it a goal for 2023 to convey kind, empathetic and positive messages to others, we would witness a truly profound impact on the society in which we live.

We could spark a revolution based on kindness, trying to recreate the premises of a less difficult world, coming back to the reality before social and environmental upheavals.

Kindness means treating ourselves and others with care and gentleness and reflects by definition an understanding of the preciousness of all life, as well as the beauty of imperfection, and carries with it feelings of respect for others.

This feeling reflects a special sensitivity to others. And it implies interest and compassion for both others and oneself and it reflects an appreciation of the dignity of every living being. Plus, it refers to a genuine understanding of the preciousness of every life in its uniqueness. Thus, cultivating kindness encompasses awareness of one’s own emotions and states of mind, those of others, and the relationship between them.

Are we born kind or do we become kind? The AVPR1A gene

A team of Hebrew University psychologists in 2011 questioning the biological nature of kindness, found the activation of the AVPR1A gene, which releases neurotransmitters that provide a feeling of well-being when being kind to others.

Presumably, there is an innate biological impulse for kindness. However, the role of behavioral patterns that develop as we grow up and interact with our surroundings are crucial.

Our reality often leads to the inhibition of kindness. It is not only because of the hustle and bustle of life, but also because of rampant careerism and the resulting lack of empathy.

If we are to begin planting the seeds of positive growth in this 2023, we have a responsibility and a mission to practice kindness.

In a competitive world scarred by wars and pandemics, which makes people self-centered and emotionally unavailable, it is easy to become inattentive and insensitive to the needs of others, escalating to the degeneration of violence and bullying.

Unfortunately, a huge role in this drift toward aggression and rudeness comes from poor use of the Internet and social media. Physical distance creates premises of depersonalization and derealization: we hide behind digital interfaces, venting our dissatisfactions through a keyboard, almost forgetting that what happens in the virtual world, has repercussions on physical reality.

In other words, attacking and offending someone via social media and mercilessly targeting those we do not like generates malaise, suffering and tension in the real world as well.

How to be kinder?

We should try to be kind, first of all to ourselves, since the first form of mental well-being is totally subjective. Beyond superstructures and badness, we can all be kinder: to ourselves, to others and to our planet.

Kindness can trigger virtuous circles of positivity, movements and projects: think about the British Be Kind Movement, or Be Kind America, a project that offers innovative and effective programs and services to students.

Through experience and learning, students are facilitated in decision-making and taking responsibility in order to build respectful interpersonal relationship skills and form lasting values.

Kindness main keyword 2023: how to train kindness?

We can all train kindness by showing people around our interest and trying to interact more empathetically. Here are some suggestions.

  • Manifest your feelings positively

When you appreciate someone’s behavior or efforts, or simply think they are kind, try to communicate this.

By honestly expressing these thoughts, you may achieve positive growth in your relationship with others.

  • Choose your words carefully

The words we use are important, and even small variations in language, can help make us seem kinder and more caring. When you have negative thoughts in your mind that you need to communicate to others, strive to reframe the thoughts into constructive criticism.

Start by highlighting the positive parts, rather than immediately pointing out the criticism. If your criticism is unconstructive, it will lead to the other person not even listening, as he or she will put himself or herself in a closed attitude.

This care in language will make it easier to talk to others, even when you have to communicate less pleasant thoughts.

  • Make the first move

Life offers many opportunities to do good, so it is important to seize these opportunities and set a good example for others. This can encourage others to move in the same direction.

  • Make an effort to listen

Someone said that we have one mouth and two ears to listen twice as much as we talk. However, finding someone who pays sincere attention and listens without judging is quite difficult.

Before responding to your interlocutor, remember to really listen without interrupting and choose words with positive intention when you need to express your opinion.

  • Take care of yourself

If you decide to consider kindness a keyword in 2023, make an effort to be kind to yourself as well. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or confront other people. Not everyone wants to use your weaknesses against you. And there are many people out there who have exactly the same needs as you.

  • Be aware of the world around you and others around you

Many people move through space without considering others.

A simple way to be kinder is to be aware of other people wherever you are

For example, if you travel on public transportation, observe from time to time to see if someone needs to sit down, and when you drive – also for your own safety – be aware of other vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. These small acts are not only important for your safety and the protection of others, but it can ward off any negative thoughts or situations that result from not acting kindly.

  • Appreciate the beauty of being kind

So many things can make us feel good: receiving social recognition, eating great food, getting a promotion. But it also feels really good when we are kind, and learning to enjoy your kind actions can also incentivize your subconscious to do more and more of them.

Final Thoughts

Finally, try to feel all the way through the kindness you receive. You can share this positive energy beyond yourself, bringing well-being outside the personal sphere and doing something for others. You may not be fully aware of it, but these small gestures can brighten the days of others and really make a difference.

Certainly, kind actions can make the world a better place for all humanity by increasing feelings of confidence, control, and optimism.

They can encourage others to emulate the good deeds they have received, contributing to a more positive and humane global society. That is why kindness should be the main keyword in 2023.

Marzia Parmigiani

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