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The Power of Kindness

Today while I was out on a walk in my neighborhood, I was reminded of how much power the simple act of kindness possesses and that children are born with that kindness free from the hatred and racism of others that can grow in adults. As I was walking, I approached a house with two caucasian children playing in the yard while their father was doing some sort of yard work. When they saw me walk past, the two children ran to the edge of the yard and gave me a hearty and joyful, "Hi. How are you?" The children seemed so happy that I immediately responded with my own smile and joyful greeting of "Hello. Have a good day."

With a wave of my hand I continued on my walk but the entire time I was thinking about how those two children did not care about what color my skin was or what they perceived as my racial identity. They were just being friendly and neighborly, and kind. That simple act of kindness made the already sunny day seem even more bright and sunny. This encounter shed light on a couple of things for me.

  1. There is no harm in being kind to someone. Kindness is part of the medicine that this country and world is in need of.

  2. Hatred and racism is not something that we are born with. It is a learned behavior and thus, can be unlearned.

As a note of information, race and racism are social constructs that were created and used throughout time to keep one group of people marginalized and oppressed to protect the wealth and so-called "power" of the group that thinks they are in power or have had all the privilege in the country. As I said earlier, race and racism are social constructs that can be deconstructed.

I bet you are wondering what this has to do with mental health. Well, glad you asked. When a group of people are marginalized and/or oppressed, they are left out of access to appropriate resources and services. This oppression can also lead to stress and anxiety connected to how that group or individuals within that group are treated within society. When we are faced with situations or experiences that cause stress or anxiety, we can develop mental disorders or mental health issues that impact our functioning.

Maybe it is time for us adults to follow the example of the two children on my walk and see how we an spread more kindness instead of the hatred, racism, bigotry, and ignorance that seem to be permeating our country and society right now. It costs you nothing to be kind. Over the next week, see where you can incorporate more kindness in your interaction with others and let us all work together to make this country more equitable and just for all.

There is Power in Kindness,

Dr. Daphne

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