The 13th of November every year marks World Kindness Day, and while kindness is something that should be remembered and celebrated each and every day it is certainly worthy of a full day celebration to make sure that it stays close to everyone’s heart.
Kindness Day was born when a collection of humanitarian groups came together on November 13, 1997 and made a “Declaration of Kindness”
The purpose of World Kindness Day according to the Australian Kindness Movement is “to look beyond ourselves, beyond the boundaries of our country, beyond our culture, our race, our religion; and realise we are citizens of the world. As world citizens we have a commonality, and must realise that if progress is to be made in human relations and endeavours, if we are to achieve the goal of peaceful coexistence, we must focus on what we have in common.
When we find likenesses, we begin to experience empathy, and in such a state we can fully relate to that person or those people. While we may think of people from other cultures as being ‘different’ when we compare them with our own customs and beliefs, it doesn’t mean that we are any better than they are. When we become friends with someone from a different culture we discover that despite some obvious differences, there are many similarities. Sometimes knowledge is passed on to us about different races, different cultures, that has become distorted, and we build up a false, negative impression of these people. It is only when we get to know such people that we realise it is a lie.”
As more countries join the World Kindness Movement, the ability to bring about positive global change will gather momentum. There are even more organisations promoting kindness across the world. One such organisation in Australia is the kindness kommunity. I recently caught up with, Katie Saint Clair, the amazing woman who is the founder of the kindness kommunity to discuss all things Kindness and to find out how the kindness kommunity works.
Hayley: Hi Katie, it’s so lovely to talk with you today. I’m going to jump right in and ask: Why do you think kindness is so important for our society now more than ever?
Katie: Hi Hayley, it’s great to talk with you too. I firmly believe that kindness is so important for our society now more than ever for many reasons, the first being that It is our basic goodness that connects us back to ourselves. We are born with kindness however, through environmental and societal factors we stray away from the light that shines within which is kindness. There is an increase in Mental Health issues, which I believe, is often related to the disconnection from our self and others. In other words we’ve lost the ability to be self-reliant and care about oneself.
There is also increase in heart disease, physical illnesses, youth suicide, and the list goes, and these too can also be traced back to this feeling of disconnect from self, family and community. Kindness actually activates physical, physiological and psychological processes within the body in a beneficial way. It creates a connection with another person, animal or being. It’s really the lynchpin to community
Kindness often takes the focus off the self and onto another creating empathy and compassion and an unseen heart connection. With all the turmoil in today’s world we could certainly do with more of this.
Hayley: Yes, we most certainly could! So what exactly is the kindness kommunity and how did you come up with the idea?
Katie: The idea for the kindness community came about 12 months ago. I was out walking my daughter’s dog and I intuitively heard the phrase “Kindness is being one of a Kind” Not long after that the story of “Dolly” Everett became National news and it got me thinking about what I could do to help.
I couldn’t stop thinking that the strategies that were being put forward at that time were all around “anti-bullying”. Our former Prime Minister even called for a National Day of Action on Bullying.
As I am trained in Energy Healing and Metaphysics, I felt this language was unsuitable to effect change. By that I mean that science is proving that our words do in fact create our reality and here we are using ANTI & BULLYING. Both these words have negative energy and connotation so looking from a Metaphysical & Quantum Physics perspective I wondered how this way of thinking was ever going to change anything.
And so the kindness kommunity was created to change the language and behaviours for more favourable outcomes. It is the bringing of people together for a common cause that makes community and so kindness is that cause in which we are bringing people together.
The basis of the kindness kommunity is based on Choices. Asking ourselves and our children, “What do you choose today” is a great way of setting our intention to be kind. A kindness community can be created using the kindness values:
K – Kommunity creation
I – Integrity in all words and deeds
N – Nice to self
D – Devoted to Change
N – Nurture Connections
E – Empathy & Compassion
S – Service to Other and spreading Love
S – Smile, Smile, Smile
It can be used as a self-reflective tool to examine personal language, action and behaviours. Self-accountability really, with Kindness as the motivator. You can be either kind or unkind which reflects that you are operating from either a space of Love or Fear. It’s as simple as that!
I will also point out that the kindness kommunity is spelt in all lower-case letters purposely. This is to connect the little child in all of us, who recognises kindness as a virtue. The use of the double ‘k’ in the name specifically is also intentional as when you you look at the structure of the letter k it represents ‘we’ve got your back and our arms are open wide’.
Hayley: What are you hoping will be the outcomes with the kindness kommunity? How far do you think the kindness kommunity can spread?
Katie: Ideally a kinder world and place to live. Really if we all took a pause before responding and realised the effect of our words and actions, I’m sure the anti-social behaviour and bullying would not be the issue that it is. It is my vision to have all schools accredited as ‘the kindness kommunity’ communities, and each student a warrior for kindness. I’d love for workplaces and businesses to be the same. And imagine celebrities spreading the word and being involved in major marketing campaigns based on “what do YOU choose today…. kind or unkind?” I see this as a global revolution and people power movement as all humans are touched when kindness is our underlying virtue.
Hayley: They often say that kindness spreads like ripples in the water, can you explain this phenomenon for us?
Katie: Great Question! It’s all about the feeling that kindness creates.
Let’s recall an occasion where another person was kind to you; maybe they let you go ahead of them in the supermarket or when you are driving in the car or perhaps they paid for a coffee, you get the picture.
How did it make you feel? ………
Pretty good I expect. And that feeling stays with you for a while and everyone you connect with after that encounter will also feel the effect of that encounter as you will be most likely be happy, smile and even more likely to tell the story of what happened.
So, the first person’s act of kindness has now had an effect on 3 people (the give, the receiver and the listener/witness) and this ripple effect continues out the more you tell the story. The further it spreads because it’s likely to prompt the person listening/witnessing to do the same.
It also brings back the feeling to your heart space and you become the pebble in the pond.
Hayley: I love that feeling. We do often forget to be kind to ourselves don’t we? What are your words of wisdom to help us all be kinder to ourselves?
Katie: That is so right, we do often forget to be kind to ourselves. My answer to this is simple…. LOVE YOURSELF UP!!!! One of the easiest ways to do this is to smile , and really smile especially at yourself. Send that smile into your heart space. Research actually confirms the therapeutic and positive effects of smiling. Your energy instantly changes and smiling rebalances all of your energy centres. Also, being aware of the words you speak outwards and inwards is a great way to be kinder to ourselves. Mental chatter destroys our self-esteem as we are usually beating ourselves up, so mindfulness on your thoughts is vitally important. Remember, it has been proven our thoughts create our reality.
Hayley: And, for all those out there wondering how they can be kinder to others each day, what are some strategies that they could do to do this?
Katie: Being kinder to others again starts with ourselves. Any random act of kindness spreads kindness exponentially as we’ve previously explained through the ripple effect. Often you’ll never know the effect your act of kindness has on another and that’s the beauty of it. Not knowing brings it from a love space rather than ego.
Our top 5 kindness strategies for World Kindness Day are:
- Smile at a stranger
- Make a donation to a worthy cause
- Let someone in front of you in traffic
- Pick up any rubbish you see on the ground
- Put your phone away when in the company of others
They are so simple but often overlooked!
Hayley: They are really great simple ideas. I know that I can do some of those. Now I know that alot of people are going to be thinking “hey, this really sounds like a great idea”, or “yes we really need this”. How can they get in touch with you or become part of the kindness kommunity?
Katie: Starting with you we have an attached Kindness pledge for you to print and write in your own words your commitment to kindness. We would love for you to take a photo with your pledge and post it to facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #thekindesswarriorproject
We are also releasing some exciting products including daily tips how to be a kindness warrior, kindness kards and our own special merchandise, so stay tuned for those.
People can also sign up to the kindness warrior storyboard by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or even just to drop me a line and say hi!
We Choose Kindeness, Now It's Your Turn!
SHOW US YOUR PLEDGE!
Don’t forget to post your photo to Facebook or Instagram using #thekindnesswarriorproject