This morning, I sat at my computer and cried. I had just read the passing of someone called Joyce Tan Siew Ling who lived in Malaysia. Now, I am not the type to mourn the passing of lives from this world to the next. After all, we are all here on borrowed time, and Death was the only thing that was ever promised to us at birth. It comes to us all sooner or later.
So I want more kindness in my life, where do I start? Well, counter-intuitively authentic kindness starts with being kind to yourself. Sure you can just go out and do good or volunteer but if you're judging yourself harshly or not forgiving yourself for past mistakes then any act of kindness will be conditional, the real incentive will be to make you feel better about yourself.
We all value kindness. Wherever we are in the world, kindness is a gesture that's understood and welcomed as part of our common humanity. And because the research shows that nearly all of us are kinder to others after someone is first kind to us, one random act of kindness has the potential to change the world. What kind gesture will you make today?
Jo Cox's death on Thursday, along with the tragic mass shooting in Orlando, has been a wakeup call for all of us, in a world where its becoming increasingly apparent that violence is the accepted answer to someone who doesn't agree with you or isn't like you. When did this way of dealing with difference become the norm?
Evolutionary theory would be compatible with altruism if we could expect the same in return. One monkey picks the parasites from the back of his monkey friend, then his monkey friend returns the favor. But it is hard to see how the 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' gene could ever gain dominance in the first place.
Yeah, you read that right - do nothing. It's not easy is it? What happens when we just sit quietly? Thoughts; I should be doing this or that, glimpses at past events and conversations, daydreaming about happy events, guilt for not doing something, anything - the list is endless. It's almost harder to sit still than it is to keep on doing. Isn't it?