This I Believe

Patricia - Dayton, Ohio
Entered on September 16, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in the power of genuine kindness.

In the world today, it is easy to get caught up in the desire to be better, richer, or better looking than the next guy. I believe that despite this viscous cycle of greed and vindictiveness, the only thing that can truly make our world a better place is sincere validation.

In the short eighteen years that I’ve been on this planet, I have always been troubled by the sometimes unconscious pettiness of girls my own age. I never quite understood why someone would find pleasure from destroying the self esteem and happiness of another person. If you dislike another person, why not disassociate yourself from them?

It wasn’t until I reached college that I realized the true importance of genuine kindness. With the constant pressure of choosing a major, deadlines, and making my own choices, I began to find myself concentrating solely on myself. I started to see that it was precisely those girls my own age that helped bring me back to earth. My best friends from high school would consistently call me just to see how I was or how things were going. The actions of these girls helped me to make it through my freshman year of college. Their occasional honest to goodness kindness helped me to know that I could make it through the stress of entering this brand new world outside my own home.

I would see fellow students in the hall way hold doors open for each other or offer to help someone if they didn’t understand the math problem, and I noticed that this type of interaction is what makes our world worth living. Even though I am in college right now, inevitably to gain an education to make a better and more prosperous life for myself, I know in the back of my mind that keeping an eye out for the other guy is precisely what is going to give my “better life” real meaning. I hope that through my belief in the power of kindness that I will never become one of those people so focused on the bottom line that I fail to notice who I take down in the process.

I’ve known people who have lived to their nineties, and the only consistent thing they have told me is that the only way to live that long is to start narrowing in on the good in people. If only the world could learn that lesson. Through the kindness of others, I recognized that taking a moment each day to call a friend or smile at someone would inevitably brighten their day. We’ve all heard stories of people who chose to live because of the kindness of one other person. I don’t have a personal story like that, but I do whole heartedly believe in its message.

I believe in the power of kindness.