Kindness. Yes kindness, but not only the resolution to be kind. Kindness takes a reflection on what it is and how it shows its angelic halo from time to time. Now more than ever people need to honestly think about what it means to be kind. Not because the world is in any more of a state of chaos then it ever has been, but because our world lends itself less and less to kindness.
Take for example the automatic opening doors at so many shopping locations. The automatic sliding door has eliminated a common act of kindness people do every day, which is holding the door for someone. There are many instances that still require people to act on their sense of kindness and hold doors open, but the automatic door has diminished those acts. Many times people hold the door without breaking their stride saying, "I'll be kind as long as it doesn't slow me down." The recipient of this kindness has to catch up to the world of someone else.
The person receiving the kindness does have a responsibility to show gratitude, but not the obligation to labor for your kindness. I have seen and have been the victim of being taken advantage of. A person holds the door and people just walk trough without any acknowledgement fearful they may recognize their own insecurity. Yet isn't this really what kindness is? Doing something for someone without expectation of reward or even gratitude.
Well then what is in it for me? I don't expect to go to work and not get paid, right? Selfishness comments on another part of society. The expectation that a person must get something for everything they do. The idea that a person is so important that their time, no matter how minute, or their effort, no matter how small, demands a reward. It is just like everyone getting a blue ribbon for just showing up, or every student deserves an A no matter what. Kindness is different than so many aspects of life because it expects the absence of selfishness.
There are many who point out the benefits of kindness, but it also works in opposite of the reward system, it has a negative system. When people are not kind, they are rude. Rudeness is becoming easier to recognize than kindness. Such as the person face planted into a phone screen during a presentation, a class, church, or even a picture being taken of them. Or how about people who not only just talk on the phone in a public place, but shout into a conversation. It has even gotten to the point of automatic flushing toilets because pushing a lever is too much of an inconvenience to send your waste away to be managed the way a decent society should operate.
Without kindness there is rudeness. Kindness isn't donating money or time to a soup kitchen. Doing that is called charity (also important). Kindness is simply when a person isn't rude, and to avoid rudeness is to simply be kind. Kindness is stepping away from the self centered oblivion so often promoted in modern culture and appreciate the people around you, even if it is someone just a few steps short of catching the door. So the only New Year's resolution I care about is keeping kindness on the mind.
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