Love Expressed in Form of Kindness
What if I told you love can extend your lifespan? I’m not talking about Nollywood or Hollywood type of love. This kind of love is not whimsical nor conditional, but it is commitment and sacrifice driven in nature.
On my drive to work one day, I came across a young man about to end his life on the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge. I stopped my car and went over to him and by the grace of God, I was able to talk him out of it. All he needed was to hear a few words of assurance that his life was worth something. We finally handed him over to the medical authorities before we went on our way.
Indeed, this was the reality of love expressed in form of kindness. For “Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.” – Khalil Gibran. So, we have the chance, daily, to step beyond the strictures of habit and see ourselves as fundamentally interdependent with all beings – as no man is an island.
On February 14th of Every Year, people honour their “love” for one another by spending time together, sending flowers and sharing Valentine’s messages of love. The ritual of expressing love and affection goes far beyond the courtly love of Chaucer’s time. He may have been the first person to link the Catholic Saint Valentine with romance, but today Valentine’s Day is a time to show appreciation for family and friends as well.
I’m sure we’re all familiar with the quote, “Love your neighbour as yourself,” but let’s be honest – loving your neighbour as yourself does not always come easy. So, across the world, while everyone celebrates love in the month of February; I’m taking this opportunity to Challenge You to Redefine What Love Means to You!
As a result, in expressing love effectively; Kindness is one of the most powerful ways you can impact the world and change your own life in the process.
So, I’d like to share Three Characteristics of Love Expressed in Form of Kindness
- Love is Kind
Loving-Kindness as an expression of love is often misjudged merely as being “sweet” or “sentimental,” because those are definitely qualities we associate with words like “love” and “kindness.” But the reality is; the practice of love in form of kindness is about cultivating love as a strength and a tool that challenges our tendency to see people (including ourselves) as disconnected and strictly isolated from one another.
Love expressed in kindness is about opening yourself up to others with compassion and equanimity, which is a challenging exercise, requiring you to push back against assumptions, prejudices and labels that you may have internalized. It is a powerful combination of affection with compassion. It is indeed expressed as a force that pushes one to go the extra mile for another.
- Kindness will Find its Way Back to You
If you were arrested for kindness, would there be enough evidence to convict you? If you were paid a dime for every kind word you spoke and paid a nickel for every unkind word would you be rich or poor? — Michael Josephson. These words help me recall the popular proverb that says; “You reap what you sow” Sometimes, the people who you are kind to are not necessarily the ones who pay you back, but no act of love or kindness goes unrewarded.
This also ties to the fact that; Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you. That’s why Mark Twain referred to Kindness as a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can read.
Remember, life is an echo. It always gets back to you. So, be kind.
- Kindness Increases your Lifespan
This is backed by science! Believe it or not, ‘Kind’ people age slower than the general population and people who volunteer regularly have a 44% lower chance of dying early than those who don’t volunteer. Volunteering as you well know, is a way of expressing love for others and this I hear is even more beneficial than exercising 4 times a week!
So, with that in mind and the statistics for the average age of Nigeria’s mortality rate, which is 53.7 years for males and 55.4 years for females; it makes common sense for Nigerians to show more love and volunteer as this could indirectly increase our chances of living longer.
Thus, as you go through this season of love, ensure you step out of your comfort zone and commit to expressing love in its various forms to others this month, year & beyond.
Remember, You Have Only One Life to Live, MAKE IT COUNT.