5 Things We’ve Learned About the Impact of Kindness from 10 Years of Anti-Bullying Work
A little bit of kindness really does go a long way.
Amelia Earhart once said, “a single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” We couldn’t agree more with this statement. Over the last ten years, as co-founders of Kind Campaign, we have toured the globe, speaking in over 500 schools across four countries, connecting with millions of people with a mission to spread kindness.
As we reflect on the incredible ways we’ve witness kindness manifest itself in innumerable forms, we’re sharing some of our top insights from the decade of work we’ve done in the business of kindness.
Kindness isn’t just about grand gestures
Kindness comes in all shapes and sizes, and it’s important to remind people of this because kindness is accessible to everyone. Kindness can be as simple as smiling at a stranger, holding the door open for someone, saying “hi!” to a classmate or coworker, or paying it forward in some other way. We still remember specific acts of kindness shown to us over the years, so we know we can vouch for others that the ability of small acts of kindness can truly change someone’s day (or even their life). Follow the example of kind people; this town stood up to antisemitism together.
Courtesy Kind Campaign
Above all else, people will never forget how you made them feel
As Maya Angelou powerfully said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
We can recall a specific assembly a couple of years ago. There was a girl named Rachel who came to the front of the room to share with her peers just how alone she feels at school—how she feels misunderstood and cast aside. After, she sat back down in the bleachers where she was sitting alone. We watched a girl from the opposite side of the gym walk across the bleachers to sit next to her. That simple gesture has stuck with us for years. That beautiful soul was making a statement: I see you. I am here for you. She said that not only to Rachel but to the entire school, by simply sitting next to her.
We always say that kindness has a ripple effect because it isn’t only the moment of giving and receiving kindness that has an impact, but the feelings that kindness leaves us with. Connected. Inspired. Motivated to pay it forward. You can do these simple acts of kindness at any time–try them yourself!
Courtesy Kind Campaign
Kindness just feels better
Participating in gossip, drama, and bullying has negative physical and emotional effects—not just on the victim, but even on the aggressor (see a theme here?). There may be an initial high or sense of validation when you release hurtful words that are charged by emotions, but those feelings are almost always followed by regret and shame. On the contrary, you feel good when you are kind.
Apologizing is one of the greatest healers
We have witnessed time and time again the power of saying “sorry” during our Kind Campaign Assemblies. As we give each girl the opportunity to apologize to someone, we see both the giver and receiver of the apology feel instantly happier and more connected. Two out of every three girls apologize to someone during or after a Kind Campaign Assembly. Just like kindness has a ripple effect, taking responsibility for your actions does, too.
While we can’t take back the words we said or things we did, we can claim ownership of them and recognize the person or people we affected. By doing so, you won’t have to look back on a certain chapter of life and feel regret.
Courtesy Kind Campaign
Every school we walk into, no matter the size, tone, community, or social dynamics, feels triumphed by kindness. Once we educate, offer the resources, spark conversations, and ignite the healing process from the negative effects of bullying, we see students and teachers compelled to create safer, more supportive school hallways. Almost all of the students who participate in our assemblies have shared with us that they feel compelled to be kinder after experiencing a Kind Campaign Assembly, and agree that they do not want to participate in gossip or drama after experiencing a Kind Campaign Assembly.
Lauren Paul and Molly Thompson are the co-founders of Kind Campaign, the nonprofit organization that brings awareness and healing to the negative and lasting effects of girl-against-girl bullying through in-school assemblies, educational curriculums, documentary film, and global movement. Please visit findingkind.com to book an assembly today!