There is a trending article in one of the larger Medium publications talking about making 2021 the year of self.
Isn’t that how we got into this mess in the first place?
I may never be a “top writer” on Medium, and that’s okay.
I would rather write what I am passionate about than the self-indulgent clickbait that seems to permeate that site.
We don’t need more focus on “self” in this world. We need more kindness.
So that is my new word of the year for 2021.
I challenge you to pick a word that is not self-focused. Why?
Because everyone screaming about their “rights” in 2020 has almost destroyed the world. It has led to deaths and caused considerable pain.
I enjoy writing about self-improvement. But can I tell you a secret?
How you treat other people matters as much as how you treat yourself.
We are all just a few steps away from becoming the man in this picture. And do you know what I learned this year? There are far fewer people waiting to catch me when I fall than I realized.
That has been a sobering thought. We are more alone than we realize.
So what’s the answer?
It’s not the government. It’s not religion or prayer either.
“Faith without works is dead.” That verse used to make me feel guilty, but it is the truth.
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”—Matthew 7:12
I declare 2021 the year of kindness. Here are 6 ways to treat others with kindness.
1. Listen more than you talk
It’s easy to tell others what they should do.
It’s hard to be with someone in their difficulties, especially when you can do nothing to change their circumstances.
2. Forgive those who have hurt you
None of us is guaranteed tomorrow.
Forgive quickly and seek restoration with the person who hurt you, if possible.
If they refuse to change, then know that you tried, but move forward with your life.
3. Become blind
Don’t look at the outside person. Look at their heart.
Too often we let prejudices rule our lives. Does race, religion, or sexual orientation really matter?
If you think so, maybe you should re-read the gospels. See who Jesus hung out with and valued.
4. Don’t criticize
This one is hard for me. My parents were very critical. I learned a “right” and “wrong” way to do things.
Of course, there is no such thing. There is a personal preference. Allow people to find their own way.
It really is okay if they do something a different way. Half our arguments are over things that don’t even matter.
5. Become more childlike
I was never a child. I prided myself on being a “little adult.” I missed out on a lot.
If I had it to do over, I would have played and laughed more and been a lot less serious.
Recapture the wonder of childhood. We have become too jaded.
6. Practice random acts of kindness
Even if you can’t do big things, you can do small things with great love.
Buy someone a cup of coffee, or a meal.
Leave some groceries on their porch.
Help them with yard work or a house repair.
Anonymously pay a utility bill.
The ideas are limitless.
We can all make a difference. It doesn’t take that much effort, and you can still care for yourself too. This isn’t an either-or proposition.
With a little care, we can make the world a better place. I truly believe that.