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Dare to be Kind.

Soon it will be National Bullying Prevention Month (October), and as the cultural sea change proceeds, so continues an intolerance for belligerence. The bullied join a collective voice – awakening to the force of their strength. But bullies are not cast away; they (or is it “we”) have the opportunity to learn new skills of self-reflection, empathy, and kindness (imagine that).

Thus Lizzie Velasquez‘ video, her book, and her hashtag movement – #daretobekind – all speak to the awareness of her worth as a person despite detractors who would diminish her (or our) value.

“Born with a rare genetic condition, Lizzie Velasquez always knew she was different, but it wasn’t until she was much older that she understood what that meant to others. At 17 years old, she came across a viral video entitled “World’s Ugliest Woman”—only to discover that it featured her. In response, she decided to stand up on behalf of victims everywhere and created one of the web’s most popular YouTube channels ever and a TED talk that has drawn tens of millions of viewers.

In this daring, revelatory book, Lizzie reveals the hidden forces that give rise to self-doubt, shame, and cruelty, and empowers us to redirect them to unlock empathy and kindness for ourselves and others. “Dare to Be Kind” presents the path to acceptance, love, and tolerance, and provides a framework to help us lead confident, resilient lives and, ultimately, forge a radically compassionate world.”

Her imagination of a radically compassionate world comes from her awareness that she is “wonderfully and awesomely created” by the One who made her for Himself.

The Difference between “Nice” and “Kind”

Another person who promotes the #daretobekind movement is Gabriella van Rij whose story of adoption and racism led her to gaining insight as a “kindness expert.” Here is what she says is the difference between being “nice” and “kind”:

“First of all, what do these two words mean?

·         nice – polite, agreeable, appropriate and fitting.

·         kind – gentle nature, help others and bring happiness.

Now for me, “nice” is truly everything that embodies etiquette. From holding open a door, to shaking someone’s hand and being polite. Basically, everything you learn from your parents and in school. Almost like a random act, as you do it automatically… you hold open a door when you see someone with heavy bags. These are actions we do instinctively. Helping someone up when they fall on the street. There are many such random acts that we all do as human beings on a daily basis without being specifically aware of it or having to think of it.

Here is the difference for me with Kindness. I always give Kindness a capital K as it takes thought and deliberate action on your part to think about how you can be Kind to others and yourself. Kindness is when, on a continuous basis, you bring this into your life like a habit, and you don’t even realize that you are kind, as you have grown accustomed to helping others, being gentle, spreading happiness, and finally always considering other people’s feelings… Kind people go out of their way. Nice people do it along their way.

When you read this, you see that kindness is a purposeful act that you first of all have to see to be able to respond with kindness. For example, if you only look at your mobile devices while walking down the street you will not see the world around you and you can neither be nice or kind in this case.

Kindness goes from making the choice to be kind to truly embracing the moment both for yourself and others.”

You can be kind; you can initiate kindness; you can embrace it at the moment when it’s needed most.  Chances are you’ve been bullied, or have been in the uncomfortable place where you witness bullying.  You can find your voice; you can give your voice, and you can take the most profound action of support by demonstrating kindness.

Here’s to embracing the Moment: Be Kind.