I would classify myself as a kind person. My empathy is my biggest strength, but arguably my biggest weakness. I allow myself to be tread upon, but I still find resilience in the caring nature of others. My school, Lakeridge High School, used to be classified as a kind place. When I was new, Lakeridge was scary. Over a thousand people, none of them kind to me as they did not know me. Then, one girl. One girl came up to me, said hello, her name was Sorrel – an odd name for an odd girl. One act of kindness, and Lakeridge became a kind place. However, recently, I’ve learned that a place is only as kind as you make it. My leadership class teacher taught me, the leader shapes the culture and the culture shapes the company. It takes each of us to act as leaders, to reach out to the new girl, to go up in front of the class, to lend helping hands. All it takes is one, to start the chain reaction that is kindness.

In my day-to-day life, I try to maintain the purity of compassion, but jaded envy can creep into even the most well-intentioned lives. I recently lost an important class election. I faced friends who ditched me in the quintessential high school way known as “ghosting”. Suddenly I wasn’t good enough or cool enough for them. I’ve also had friends who stuck by my side, let me eat ice cream and cry and then put on boxing gloves and hit a punching bag like the Rocky theme songs was playing on a continuous loop. These friends have taught me how to truly be kind – how not to judge, to see the world through other’s eyes, to feel their pain but save them before they get consumed by it. Their caring voices were my realizations that the world does not end just because you fail. And it is true. No matter how much I deny it I failed and lost the election. But I was reminded of the importance of caring, and how you only need a slight smile or a quick hello to really change someone’s day.

I will move forward reminding myself every day to be kind and understanding. I will bring to my school fresh eyes and try to encourage others through the little things: open doors, crooked smiles, and genuine kind energies. Lakeridge is a welcoming place, but there are still unkind people who choose to see green-eyed monsters and bright red fury over the cool blue hues of understanding. All we can do is change ourselves and allow that change to permeate through us to others. Changing ourselves takes mental capacity allocated to good thoughts; hands set aside for good doings; and voices used to create opportunities for others to do good as well.

The way to implement kindness is to be a living example. The way to be an example of kindness is to breathe it in and ruminate, to mentally sign a contract forbidding the negative thoughts from bombarding in. Easier said than done, that is true, but worth all the struggle and effort that ensues.