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JOURNEY TO WHOLENESS - February 2017 - Kansas City
Transform Violence Into Love with Kind Actions
By Jude LaClaire, Ph.D.
In a world that seems to feed on the drama of violence it may be time for each of us to think about our part in creating an environment of kindness transforming that violence into a safe, loving space. An article in PARADE magazine, January 1, 2017, piqued my interest about this idea in the article, “Let’s make 2017 the Year of Being Kind.” They highlighted several authors that offered some good thoughts.
Harriet Lerner, Ph.D. in her new book, Why Won’t You Apologize?, says “But kindness is not an ‘extra.’ It is at the heart of intimacy, connection, self-respect and respect for others.” The Acts of Random Kindness project (www.arkprojectnow.com) asks “What would happen if kindness became normal?” There are good ideas on their website.
Another group found at www.inspired2c.org suggests becoming fluent in kindness by
Being kind to others,
Being kind to yourself,
Being kind to the planet.
The World Kindness Movement was started in Tokyo, Japan in 1997. The mission is to “Inspire individuals towards kindness and to connect nations to create a kinder world. There are twenty-five nations, including the US, that belong to this movement. They sponsor an international conference and a Happiness Day each year. Check out their website!
Closer to home, KSHB 41 has launched a “Together We Are Kind KC” movement with the themes, “Say no to violence. No to bullying. No to Discrimination. Not here, now now, not ever.” They are inviting cities, groups, schools, etc. to join in this imperative on their website.
Leon Logothetis quite his stockbroker job and decided to circle the globe depending on the kindness of strangers and practicing his acts of kindness. He wrote about it in The Kindness Diaries. He says, “I hope you will see how an act of kindness really can change the world.” He continues, “And from all of them, I learned to love.” Check out his book. There are multiple stories about people who helped him and those he helped. The results of these acts of kindness are amazing.
A series of studies have shown that kindness is contagious. James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis in the British Medical Journal in 2008 said of their research, “Emotional states can be transferred directly from one individual to another by mimicry and ‘emotional contagion’…People can ‘catch’ emotional states they observe in others over times ranging from seconds to weeks.”
When we are kind, receive kindness or observe it, our heart rate and brain activity changes in a positive direction. We feel better physically and emotionally. Of course negative behavior like sarcasm, rudeness or criticism can also spread in the family, the classroom, the workplace or other environments causing greater stress in individuals. You can choose what you are ‘spreading.’
Here are some ideas. Make a resolution to perform one act of kindness a day. I also suggest that we become more aware of ‘receiving’ kindness with openness and gratitude. That means allowing the fifteen seconds it takes for a positive experience to register! Think about writing one thank-you note a week to someone. Take Dr. Lerner’s advice and take responsibility for your behavior by apologizing sincerely when you are aware you have hurt someone.
I am sure that you can think of other ways to activate kindness in your life. Some of the websites above offer great ideas. Ralph Waldo Emerson tells us, “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
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Jude LaClaire, Ph.D., LCPC, is a counselor, educator and author. For counseling appointments, seminars, training, speaking engagements or information on Neurobehavioral Programs or Imago Couple therapy call 913-322-5622. For more information about Jude LaClaire or the Kansas City Holistic Centre go to