Let’s Create a Kinder World: The Ripple Effects of Embracing Kindness

Smiling woman wearing hijab against pink-grey background holding sign saying we need a change

With both Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Week—and Valentine’s Day happening this week, I thought it would be interesting to explore how our world might be different if kindness was a top value.

I originally wrote this in my journal after the release of the Pandora Papers in 2021 which showed that world leaders and wealthy people around the world had been deliberately avoiding paying taxes. I wondered:

  • How would our world be different if kindness was truly valued in our society?
  • What if these powerful people had grown up in an environment where kindness was the ultimate expression of power—would they still be hoarding wealth?

Personally, I don’t think so.

Imagine kindness was admired the same way we admire power, wealth and beauty

If we were taught and role modelled how to be kind to ourselves—and others—from a young age, I believe people would do kinder things with their wealth and power (and treat themselves and each other better).

So below are just a few ideas of the ripple effects of embracing kindness, benefits we could see if kindness was a peak value in our society. And remember that if kindness was a top value, it would also include self-kindness.

7 Ripple Effects if Kindness was a Top Value in our Society

1) We would all easily set the boundaries we need with others—and find it easy to say “no” when we need to

Kindness is not just saying yes to everyone else—it also means saying “yes” to our own needs. And if everyone else was also kind, they would understand that…

Brené Brown’s research has shown that: 1) the kindest people have the strongest boundaries and 2) the most empathic people have the highest respect for other people’s boundaries.

So if kindness and self-kindness was valued, instead of (women especially) rushing around putting everyone else first, we could say “no” and take care of ourselves, without self-judgement—or being made to feel guilty by others.

2) We would be happier—and less lonely

Instead of (men especially) only being allowed to feel a limited range of feelings, we could also learn to be kind to ourselves—and share what’s truly going on with us without being seen as ‘weak’, ‘selfish’ or ‘mean’.

Because we all want to be whole. Hiding parts of ourselves is stressful, takes effort and energy—and creates a barrier between ourselves and others. Whereas self-kindness increases connection—and decreases loneliness.

Gloria Steinem Quote about cheque book stubs3) Less consumption (better for the planet!)

Yes, we all know that people are more important that stuff. But that’s not how it plays out in the world.

Imagine if kindness was truly a peak value, we would teach (and show!) our children what it really means to value people, our planet and relationships over stuff—while young—and they would carry that into adulthood.

Kindness would also mean we were more content, with less need to buy stuff to distract or feel better about ourselves.

4) People would value who they are, instead of how they look

Self-kindness would mean that instead of having people (young people especially) consumed with how they look, taking the perfect selfie and obsessing over likes, they would be kind to themselves.

And we would all value other aspects of ourselves rather than this huge focus on superficial appearances.

5) Our relationships would be deeper and more satisfying

Self-kindness would mean we’re in a better place to listen, empathise and understand others’ points of view: it’s easier to be kind when we’ve taken care of our own needs.

Plus if we judged ourselves less, we’d be more comfortable being our true selves, so we’d connect with others on a deeper level.

All of this would lead to stronger relationships—whether romantic, family, colleagues or friendships—as people would feel more heard and feel safer being themselves.

Michelle Obama Quote about making a difference6) More people would do the ‘right’ thing over the ‘profitable’ thing

Kindness offsets the issues we see with Capitalism and greed, like choosing profits over people/our environment and self-obsession/individualism which leaves little room for considering others.

So instead of decisions made to maximise profit/meet targets/avoid costs, it would be easy for people in corporations to make the “right” decision morally and ethically—without being seen as weak or naive.

7) We would be healthier

If we loved—and were kind to—ourselves, we would find it easier to accept and be our authentic selves. This means we’d have fewer compulsions and unhealthy habits. Or at least it would be easier to make better, healthier decisions in our life and work.

In addition, kindness decreases worry, shame and unhappiness which shows up as anxiety, depression, stress, overwhelm and more.

And wouldn’t there also be reduced divisiveness?

Don’t you think that more kindness and understanding would also offset the increasing divisiveness we’re seeing in all spheres of life?

But kindness is not enough…

You’ve probably already realised this but: kindness alone is not enough to overcome the deeply embedded societal issues that make it so hard to be kind in the first place…

That’s why I believe we need Fierce Kindness: kindness combined with courage, determination and perseverance.

We need that extra ‘oomph’ to break through and go against the grain, to challenge what seems normal and do things differently.

Will you be part of the change?

An activist friend of mine (thank-you Andrea!) once told me that you only need 15% of the population to change to influence the rest to change their behaviour.

And there are in fact a number of studies that suggest the thresholds for this tipping point range from 10% to 25% of the population. The idea is that once this threshold is reached, behavioural change may become self-sustaining and spread (sometimes rapidly!) to the rest of the population.

Of course in ‘real life’ it’s a lot more complicated than that—but what if it was that easy?

Frances Moore Lappe Quote About our WorldIsn’t this all just ‘pie in the sky’?*

(Pie in the sky is something that’s pleasant to consider, but very unlikely to be realized.)

Well maybe. And maybe not.

I know I’d rather try to make a difference, to be part of creating a better and kinder world, than assume it’s impossible and do nothing…

Plus, there are definite, personal benefits from being kinder to ourselves (and others) that are clearly worth going after—even if you don’t believe you can make a difference on a broader scale.

How to be Kind to Yourself eBook & Workbook Image in brown wrapping paperLearn how to be kind to yourself—and why:

If you haven’t already, grab your How to be Kind to Yourself Toolkit including the benefits of self-kindness, PACT 4 Step Self-Kindness Process and more!

Wrap-upFierce Kindness Logo

Kindness Week and Valentine’s Day are simply opportunities to focus on love and kindness (both inner and outer!). So why not use this RAK week or Valentine’s Day to make an extra effort to be kind?

And here’s one easy way: Next time you notice you’re upset, feeling tired or stressed—or when you’re making a decision—simply ask yourself:

  • What would it look like to be kind right now? If kindness was my top value, what would I do?
  • What would I do if I were feeling kind towards myself? What would self-kindness look like here?

And then do it!

Change the world. Start with you!

So how do you think the world would be different if kindness was a peak value in our societies? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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Image of Happy woman wearing a hijab against a pink background by Kraken Images

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