To say this week has been stressful for most people would be an understatement. This election has been extremely divisive, particularly in recent weeks, and I know that has left a lot of people across the political spectrum feeling understandably fearful, defensive, cynical, and critical. It’s easy to point fingers at the other side without trying to understand where they’re coming from.
Even outside of election season though, it’s easy to look more at our differences than the things that unify us and to judge other people who we don’t understand. I find myself criticizing other people way too much, and it’s something I’ve been trying to combat because I believe it poisons our society. Judging other people prevents us from getting to know others who are different from us, robbing us of the incredibly enriching experience of learning from others’ cultures, experiences, and points of view.
One of our other bloggers, Quynh, recently wrote about USG’s Culture of Care network. The CCN aims to create a campus community where people feel accepted, connected, and cared for by encouraging students and staff to do small things to make the campus a more inviting, uplifting place. Whoever you voted for and whatever changes you think need to be made in this country, I think we can all agree that the world would benefit from more love and kindness. Showing kindness to others can have a surprisingly large impact.
Here are a few ways, some big, some small, that you can incorporate kindness into your daily life in order to start changing the world around you:
- Hold the door for others.
- Leave positive comments on the Internet.
- Express appreciation to other people for their hard work.
- Send polite emails.
- Talk about others’ religions, political views, cultural values, etc. in a respectful way, even if you don’t agree with them.
- Listen to others’ thoughts attentively.
- Ask other people about themselves.
- Don’t judge what (or who) you don’t know.
- Contact an old friend and ask how they’re doing.
- Try to understand other people’s opinions and ways of thinking before you critique them.
- Give other people affirmation, compliments, and encouragement.
Even though you might not see the effects of your actions, you never know what kind of impact the way you treat others may have, whether positive or negative. So let’s work to be more conscious of creating a culture of care here at Shady Grove, especially in the wake of such a divisive event in our nation. Two of my favorite parts of this campus are its diversity and its friendliness – I hope we can embrace those traits even more in the coming year.