I Believe in Kindness

Essay by Yoo Soo (Tony) Kim
Photo by Tony Kim

I believe in kindness and believe it’s the most basic value that human beings should practice without hesitation. Kindness is fundamental to human existence, and we are enriched with the kindness of our parents’ nurturing the second we are born. 

Kindness is not something that demands hard work. A kind gesture can be a simple smile or asking someone how they are. I also realized from my personal life that sharing kindness with someone always benefits one in the end. A kind-hearted feeling rekindles one’s heart and warms anyone. You never know what storms people are going through and what just a little bit of kindness could do to help them. I have had my worst days when serving my military service in Korea. No men are here in their own will, but rather enforced by the law and having our freedom taken away as a civilian. As you can imagine, the customs and practices are very different, and I doubted if I could continue for the remaining months after constantly failing to catch up with the orders and trainings.  Just by someone smiling at me or asking me 3 words “how are you?” brightened up my day. It made me feel reborn and valuable. Little acts like this go a long way into filling a lonely soul with comfort and a hopeless one with encouragement.

I believe that kindness is meant to be shared. Kindness helps comfort people and encourages them and strengthens those with us. After living in the Dominican Republic for almost my entire life but as a South Korean male, I decided to serve my mandatory military service. Not only did I struggle at the beginning because of the Korean language and culture barrier, but also because I was unacquainted with the military environment. Without the support of my friend, Donghyun, I’m not sure if I could have finished my service and don’t know the person I’d be today. Personally, for me, the difficulties I passed through have widened my view of life in a more positive way and appreciate what I have. Not only was he there for my difficult times, but I had someone to talk to to alleviate my existential anxiety and hardships. I learned that kindness is taught everywhere no matter your location, culture, or religion, and learned to rejoice life. He would stay up late during study hours with me, helping me enrich my vocabulary and enlarge my knowledge of Korean culture. After experiencing those difficulties through my own lens, I know and understand what it feels like to be left out and feeling as though the world was against me. That’s why I seek to help others by showing kindness by becoming a bridge-builder.

I believe kindness is contagious and people respond to it. Everyone has their problems, and we should always try to help them out because someday we could be in that situation asking for help. Also, we should all be kind to each other because we never know how and when we could meet again. This flow of affirmative energy, I believe is what gets me through a rough day.

Life is how we make it. We are all meant to be loved, even though we all have the power to either hurt or love someone. All people need kindness, and kindness is a powerful thing that anyone is capable of giving. Seeing someone’s face light up not only has a positive impact on that person, but I’ve found that making someone else smile makes me feel good.

It’s the smallest things that make the biggest differences. When you show someone an act of kindness, they will pass it on as kindness begets kindness. Although they might forget what you did, they will never forget how it made them feel. The act of kindness you make will continue to change people’s lives every single day. This is why I believe in kindness.