Written by Bachelor of Laws student, Chamudi Samaratunga.
Kindness… what does it mean? Over the years, I have realised that kindness does not have to be an elaborate or a grand gesture. It can be a compliment, a wave, or even a smile. Even the smallest act of kindness can really brighten up someone’s day, and I know that for a fact.
Kindness to me is treating others the way you want to be treated. I grew up in a household where my mother and grandparents taught me the importance of kindness from a very young age. One of my earliest memories of kindness is, before I came to Australia, on my birthday every year my mother, grandparents, and I would visit an orphanage to bring them a home-cooked meal and provide donations. My small family wasn’t wealthy, but we were rich in kindness and compassion, which really inspired me to spread kindness in any way I could. We saw these small opportunities as ways to show others the same respect, empathy and love that we would like to receive ourselves.
Think of kindness as if it was a snowball rolling down a hill. A kind gesture can really make someone’s day and inspire others to treat their friends, family, or even strangers with kindness. Kindness is especially important these days because of the global pandemic, where we’re collectively dealing with more confusion, loneliness, grief, frustration and anger than ever before. I have known people who have lost loved ones to the pandemic, and I have friends who feel isolated or homesick from being stuck in one place for so long. It’s undeniably hard, but it’s also an opportunity for kindness to have a real impact on the lives of others. We are really fortunate here at Bond to be surrounded by many support services to help us through difficult times, and I really appreciate the kindness and understanding I have received from my teachers and peers.
Kindness can be as simple as saying thank you – these considerate words can go a long way. Being surrounded by positive influences can really make or break someone, so I urge you to never pass up the opportunity to show a little kindness. Not only will you be making a difference in someone else’s life, but that kindness will be repaid when you need it.
I’ve also realised that kindness extends beyond just helping others; people tend to forget the importance of being kind to yourself. University can be extremely stressful at times, and if you are ever blaming yourself for not staying up an extra hour to study, feeling like you could have done better on a quiz, or constantly wishing you tried harder, I want you to stop for a second and acknowledge all the amazing things you have done to get to where you are today. I find that at times I can get stuck on ‘what ifs’ and start to blame myself for things I could have done better or that are outside of my control. However, over the past couple of years I have learned how to be kinder to myself, and it has really improved my mental health. There are so many ways to be kinder to yourself, from taking an hour to practice self-care, to learning to reframe difficult situations or working on positive self-talk. Kindness is the most human of all gestures and imprints on us forever, so don’t forget to be kind to yourself, as well as others.
There's still time to be kind
Kindness Week at Bond University has come to an end, but there are still ways to look out for others - and yourself. Check out our wellbeing guide for more.