Is 2021 the Year of Kindness?

by Vicki Powers

An article in Forbes in late January, “Why You Should Make 2021 the Year of Kindness, caught my eye because I knew this February issue was focusing on kindness. What timing, I thought.

It’s also appropriate as folks experience “pandemic burnout” – and most recently, the winter storm after Valentine’s Day that impacted our staff and millions of individuals, crippled our city, our power supply, water sources, and food supplies. We could all use a little extra kindness and grace as we navigate the coming days, weeks, and year.

The Forbes writer describes kindness as “the quality of being generous, helpful, and caring,” according to the Cambridge Dictionary. This so perfectly describes what we do every day with our Houston Recovery Center clients in the sobering center, strangers who need assistance from our PIT Team, recovery coaches staying connected to those in recovery with texts and calls. We extend kindness – genuinely – expecting nothing in return.

Kindness and Oxytocin

According to Simon Sinek, in his video The Power of Kindness, acts of kindness and acts of generosity provide us with oxytocin, the chemical responsible for love and connection that binds us as human beings. “It feels good when we do something nice for someone, it feels good when someone does something nice for us,” Sinek says. The power of that kindness is doing it genuinely, he says.

This also extends to treating yourself with kindness and compassion. It can be hard to be kind to ourselves when work and plans might not get done as expected, due to juggling new routines or responsibilities during COVID-19 or aftermath of winter storm damage. Give yourself grace. Give yourself kindness like you share with others.

Let’s wish for 2021 to be a kind year. And let’s commit to doing our part to extend kindness with a genuine heart, expecting nothing in return. What is one act of kindness you can do today?