World Kindness Day
Today, Saturday 13 November is World Kindness Day which is observed in countries around the world as an annual reminder to be kind.
In a social media milieu that is weighed down with negativity, the hashtag #bekind, reminds everyone that even small acts of kindness can be transformative.
If you want more proactive ideas, then the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has plenty of kindness ideas, including planting a tree in your community, writing a recommendation on LinkedIn, or sending an encouraging email to a colleague.
For mediators, World Kindness Day is an opportunity for us to reflect on the mediation space.
World Kindness Day is not a soft, fuzzy notion, but a recognition of our interdependence. We need to be kind, in order to survive. Through being kind we cultivate communal strength; through building empathy, we go beyond mere survival and sow the seeds for a thriving life.
Similarly, the mediation space is a place where parties can be vulnerable, but where that vulnerability is not a weakness but a strength. Where there is honesty, empathy and humility we can open up possibilities for transformation. The simple experience of being listened to, of truly being heard, such as in the individual meetings, is an act of kindness, as is having someone acknowledge the hurt or difficulties of another. If there is an apology, parties can clear the slate and begin again, consciously re-creating a relationship that is mutually beneficial.
Every day is a new chance to be kind and to make a positive impact on others. We can make kindness the norm in our individual lives, and consciously share that in the mediation space too. We can make the world, the kind place we want it to be, the kind place we need it to be.