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Why Kindness Matters (A Hospital Tale)

Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day. And so it's a perfect day to talk about kindness and its impact
Why Kindness Matters (A Hospital Tale)
Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day.
And so it’s a perfect day to talk about kindness and its impact on mental health.
What does it mean to you?
Is it gift-giving? Is it word-giving? Is it simple acknowledgment?
Whatever it is, there’s no denying that kindness changes the world in positive ways.
Here’s what I mean, based on experiences I had in a hospital.

Stories We Don't Know Yet
All people are stories we just don’t know yet.
When I worked in a psychiatric hospital, I worked with all kinds of people. And there were some people who I thought I would never grow to like. I had the assumption that, because of what they did to others, I would never be able to feel compassion for them.
There were people who abused others physically, and there were people who sold drugs in their communities. And, in some way or another, they had ended up at this hospital due to mental health issues.
These were people who had done some questionable things in their lives, and I thought I wouldn’t be able to feel any love for them.
I was wrong.
Each person I met had a story, and once I learned it, their world started to make sense.
I could see why they did the things they did. I could understand that so much of their lives were outside of their control–and that their responses to their situations seemed perfectly logical to them. It was the best options they had–or seemed to have–at the time.
If I had met these people with anger and judgment, no healing would have happened. But, instead, I met these people with kindness and an open mind.
Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t always easy to do.
Some of the people had built up defense mechanisms over the years that could peel paint off the walls. But the more I sat with them, the more I realized why they behaved the way they did.
Hatred was what they were used to. They expected others to treat them terribly. And when I refused to do that, something happened. Kindness opened up the conversation, and the words started flowing.
Because all people have stories to tell. Learn their stories, and you learn their lives.
Maybe Random Acts of Kindness Day could prompt you to hear one you haven’t heard yet.
It just might change your life.
I know kindness has changed mine. In beautiful ways. In ways I never expected.

Hey there, be kind today. You owe it to yourself to see the good in others–and others the good in you.

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Jordan Brown - Mental Health Writer, Poet, and Advocate

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