It is certain that corona virus is deadly. We have learnt terms we would never imagined learning, like “R naught” (the term for how quickly a virus replicates). This pandemic has also infected us with fear, frustration, anger, and anxiety which has left most of us feeling exhausted, wondering when the pandemic will end.
Instead of cracking our heads on when this will end, we can do something that will help us all get through this and come out stronger.
This ‘something’ is kindness. Pure and simple.
I have seen how infectious kindness can be when tearing up after reading a stories on how individuals have shared food, shelter and clothing with the less privileged. I have felt the resonance of kindness in my chest after seeing a video of a middle-aged white man putting a stethoscope to the chest of a 20-year-old Black man who recently suffered a surprise heart attack and listening to the beating heart of the white man’s deceased daughter, which had been donated to the Black man. Their subsequent hug said it all: a tragic death resurrected as life through kindness.
Simple act like wearing a face mask in public is not a sign of your politics, but a show of kindness.
So why is kindness more infectious than COVID-19?
Social contagion is the spread of emotion from one person to another. You can wear a face mask or socially distance to prevent the spread of a physical virus.
Kindness kills our fears that people who do not look like us are dangerous. Kindness kills our worries that we’re alone in this. Kindness kills our doubts that we can work together.
Think about this…
How does it feel when you see someone genuinely, authentically, and spontaneously be kind to you or someone else? It likely lifts you up and warms your heart. It triggers a sense of “wow, that is powerful.” It gives you hope.
Kindness inspires you to be kind. Every time you see someone being kind, you have just been contaminated with those mental droplets of common humanity making it more likely that you will be infected with the kindness contagion.
Kindness kills our fears that people who don’t look like us are dangerous. Kindness kills our worries that we’re alone in this. Kindness kills our doubts that we can work together.
As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared back in 1957, “The end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. The type of love that I stress here is not eros, a sort of esthetic or romantic love; not philia, a sort of reciprocal love between personal friends; but it is agape which understanding goodwill is for all people. It is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return… This is the love that may well be the salvation of our civilization.”
So, increase the R naught and unflatten the curve of kindness.