Choose KindnessBy Renae Gould

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always heard that kindness is a virtue. It seems to be truer than ever these days. Unfortunately, I think some people have forgotten how to be kind to others. It really isn’t that hard. You should treat others how you want to be treated. It’s that simple.

However, we live in a world that has millions of distractions. Those distractions sometimes cause stress, and how we react to what’s going on around us can make all the difference. Have you ever heard of Epictetus? He was a Greek Stoic philosopher. He said, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

As I get older, I’m realizing how very true that philosophy is in life. There are so many people out there who only see the negative in life, doing whatever they can to complain. I’ve come to realize I don’t need those kind of people in my life. I have a choice, and I choose to ignore or walk away from those people. Don’t get me wrong, I complain, too, but I don’t make it my life’s mission. We all have our struggles, challenges, bad days, etc. But, we also have a choice in how we react to those situations.

So, I guess I’m wishing more people will realize being kind isn’t that hard. When someone asks how your weekend was when you walk into work on Monday, focus on the good things that happened. Don’t dwell on anything negative, and be sure to ask that person how his/her weekend was, too. It is very easy to dwell on what you have going on in your life, but make an effort to put others first.

Epictetus also said, “First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.” We sometimes get caught up in everything around us, and forget to think before we respond to a situation. Life would be different if people thought how their words might affect someone before they speak. I need to be better at this, and it’s something I’ve been working on this year.

In short, choose kindness. Choose to be someone others want to be around. Choose to focus on the positive.

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