What Goes Around Comes Around: Kindness Matters, so Pass It On

One of the most useful lessons I learned as a new parent had to do with the give and take of energy, or the idea that what goes around comes around. I learned that the energy I put into interacting with my child is the same energy I will get in return. If she is wound up and I need her to chill, yelling at her to settle down will have the opposite effect; I need to speak calmly if I want her to be calm, and I need to speak with energy when I want her to wake up. I can quickly turn my entire family into bears with my grumpiness, and when someone’s angry, I get a lot of mileage out of a little kindness and patience. And, by the same token, when my family members’ moods improve, it works wonders on my own attitude.

Your Mood Makes a Difference for Everyone

Moods are actually contagious. You’ve probably experienced this yourself: Someone walks into a coffee shop with a big smile, and the mood of the whole cafe lifts. On the other hand, though, a grumpy customer can sour the atmosphere. While we might only notice these extreme moments, we subconsciously sync our moods with those around us on a regular basis. That means our attitude and behavior impact the social environment we live in. So, simply stated, send out the vibe you want to live in. If you want kindness, be kind.

As a child, I was taught what many know as the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Later in life, I learned about karma, which the Merriam-Webster dictionary describes as “the force created by a person’s actions that some people believe causes good or bad things to happen to that person.” Both of these concepts reinforce the idea that what we get out of life, and our relationships, relates back to what we put into them.

Strength in Kindness

When I was in treatment for breast cancer, I discovered the Young Survival Coalition, which addresses needs that are specific to young women with breast cancer. This organization was so helpful to me in terms of social support, useful information, and helping me maintain my sanity through this crisis that I decided to give back and start volunteering with them. What I quickly discovered was that the act of helping was integral to my healing. Helping others in a meaningful way made me feel better. I felt stronger, useful, and needed, and the kindness kept coming back to me — and that felt good. Giving back helped me derive some meaning from my experience, and it’s clear to me now that gaining this understanding resulted from offering my time and effort.

The research bears this out: Science has connected the act of helping others to our own well-being. People who have experienced trauma or illness often recover more quickly if they are engaged in helping others. It’s simple: Helping others helps you because what goes around comes around.

If you have an interest in helping others, VolunteerMatch is a great resource for connecting you to local organizations that can make use of your skills. So share some kindness with the world; it will come back to you.

Image source: 500PX