By Kerstin Westerlund, Cal Lutheran Contributor
As cliché as it may sound, no act of kindness is ever too small! This may seem hard to believe at times, but wow, it is so true! By simply choosing to be kind to others, you literally have the power to brighten someone’s day. How is that not a big deal? However, when you treat others with kindness, they are not the only ones positively impacted by it. Believe it or not, you also gain something from being kind! It truly takes a powerful person to do good for others. That is why being kind to someone will not only make that person more confident, but it will make you more confident as well!
While kindness is confidence, the opposite is also true. Unkindness often comes from insecurity, jealousy and inner-conflict. This means that when someone does or says something mean to you, it reveals more about them than it does about you! I am going to share two of my personal stories to hopefully prove how kindness is confidence! Here is one experience I have in college with being kind to someone and how it made me more confident in myself:
As a Freshman in college coming from out of state, I have definitely had my share of ups and downs this year. It seemed like one day I would have fun with new friends and feel nothing but joyful and optimistic about my college experience; while the next day it would seem like no one cared to get to know me or wanted to do anything with me. I was lonely and hopeless and would cry myself to sleep with the hope that the next day would be better. I constantly tried to keep this struggle to myself believing that everyone else here was happy and that no one would care about how I felt. One day, my friend Haley and I were having a conversation and I revealed to her how I had been feeling. I was very surprised to find out that she had been feeling the exact same way! From that day on, we would always come to each other when we needed someone to talk to. I wanted to help make her feel as welcomed and as happy as possible here. I would invite her to go on adventures with me, I brought her along to various club meetings and activities and I would always listen to her whenever she needed to talk - and she would do the EXACT same thing for me! Haley did not even know this, but it made me feel so much more secure and confident knowing that I was doing all I could to make her feel happy and welcomed. She transferred schools after the first semester and while I miss her a lot, I am so glad that she is a lot happier now! We still keep in touch every day! While it still can be tough for me, I am a lot happier and more confident this semester than I was before! Here is an experience I had with people being unkind to me and how it reflected more about them than it did about me. I am not using this story to call anyone out but only to share about something that I let affect me when I shouldn’t have:
My senior year of high school, I was a co-president of my school’s French club. I LOVED it! French was one of my favorite subjects and French club was one of my favorite activities. So when Thanksgiving break came during my first semester of college, I was incredibly excited to come back and visit my old French teacher and the new French club presidents. However, this excitement was met with utter disappointment when I came back to my old high school and was met with unkindness and total disrespect. The presidents of the club, who I considered to be good friends of mine, were mocking and unfriendly. I stood there in horror as they scornfully teased me about, among other things, how there was “better leadership” without me. Whenever I spoke about any of my college experiences they would snap back in sarcastically rude comments such as “wow aren’t you cool”. I’ve always had a facetious sense of humor with them, but this time it didn’t feel right - it seemed almost cruel. I choked back tears as I remembered all the work I did for the club. I tried to bake French treats for every meeting, I stayed up late making the activities and designing posters (many of which were still being used by the presidents this year), I’d host baking days at my house for my friends in preparation for our annual bake sale, and I loved all of it! I wondered what I did wrong to ever deserve being treated that way. I decided to be kind and buy coffee for one of the co-presidents and I donated some of my own money to the club. I’m not going to lie though, what they said made me so angry and upset that I wanted revenge! I went home and cried to my mom and some friends who comforted me. Through the pain I felt, I realized something fundamental - the problem was not what they had said to me, the problem was that I was letting it get to me. Why should I let that bother me? Despite their intentions, I am confident enough that I would never have to put someone else down to make myself seem better. Although this problem is very small in the scheme of things, I am glad it happened because it opened my eyes to something important. Their cruel words said more about them than they did about me. Not only is it unkind to put others down to make oneself feel better, but it is also inauthentic. I’m going to give my friends the benefit of the doubt and believe that they did not mean to hurt me, but I learned that you are always stronger than those who dare to bring you down, so why not just be kind? :)I hope you can see that kindness creates more confidence for everyone it impacts. Even the smallest acts of kindness have the power to improve others confidence and yours as well. I also hope you know that unkindness speaks louder about the person who is being unkind than it does about you; so always hold your head up high and stand taller than anyone who dares to be unkind to you. With that said, I am going to conclude this article with the same words that Ellen uses to end her shows - “Be kind to one another!”