Unleash your international superpower: Kindness!

On the transformative power of kindness in a sometimes-hostile culture.

Living and working in diverse cultures (and returning to Denmark) has taught me a valuable lesson: kindness isn’t something to be taken for granted.

Random acts of kindness are precious, rare, and often unexpected. They require a culture of friendliness, but also a certain level of self-worth, generosity, and trust in humanity – making them even more special.

But what a joy it is when you get them. People expressing regret with you, when you spill latte all over your favorite silk blouse, or offering a helping hand when you trip ungracefully up the stairs, or complimenting you on a bad-hair-day: what a joy! 

Interestingly, I’ve found that internationals, good at shifting perspectives, often possess an innate penchant for kindness. We understand the value of empathy across cultures.

Maybe it’s time we recognize this superpower within ourselves. Kindness, as I’ve come to realize, isn’t indestructible. If left dormant, it risks fading away, at least when spending a long time in Denmark.

The fascinating thing is that kindness doesn’t always demand reciprocation. It’s not about keeping score. The act of being kind has a great effect (oxytocin and all that) on one’s health, as well as one’s own self-esteem and well-being, regardless of the response it receives.

There have been instances when I’ve consciously chosen to extend kindness, fully aware that it might not be met with equal enthusiasm. In those moments, it becomes a sort of personal game, a one-person mission to inject a little more positivity into my own world. It’s as if I’m saying, “here I come, armed with generosity. I won’t let you trick me into being like you. I’m pushing back!”

In the end, embracing kindness in a sometimes-hostile culture is more than just a gesture. It’s a stance, a choice to rise above the potential indifference and continue radiating warmth. Through these small yet powerful acts, we not only bridge cultural gaps but also safeguard our own positivity and sense of self. 

So, why should you keep being kind? Because your kindness has the power to transform both your experience and the atmosphere around you. It’s a chance to challenge the status quo, dismantle barriers, and foster a sense of belonging.

While it might not be an overnight change, your consistent kindness sets the stage for a gradual shift in attitudes, creating a more inclusive and harmonious space for everyone. And who wouldn’t want to be part of that positive transformation?