Dare to Be Kind: How to Join the #DareToBeKind Movement & Make a Difference by Jessica Acree
kindness (n): the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate
It’s simple. A basic concept that should come easily to anyone with an ounce of belief in humanity. Yet, it is often difficult for so many who have lost confidence. I’m here to make a plea. Don’t give up. Kindness is at the root of happiness and each small act breeds more. We all thrive when kindness motivates our actions. You matter. He matters. She does, too. Together, we can set a great movement in motion to showcase the good. It’s hard to see sometimes, but I challenge you to find it, embrace it, cultivate it and inspire those around you to do the same.
Be the change you wish to see in this world.
That is exactly what Gabriella van Rij is doing. She is the ambitious, down-to-earth force behind the global #DaretobeKind movement. Her belief, born out of a deeply-rooted appreciation for kindness in her own storied life, is that one purposeful act is all it takes to go from a negative space to a positive place. A smile. A listening ear. A show of gratitude. It doesn’t take much, but it does require intentional action. You can choose to be a kindness instigator in the way you interact with others, in turn sparking positive change all around.
I had the pleasure of talking with Gabriella over the phone simply because I was curious about her movement. She took my call while in the car navigating stressful rush-hour traffic in Los Angeles, but never skipped a beat in her enthusiasm for sharing her #DaretobeKind vision. Gabriella is a tenacious activist, a successful author, a powerful keynote speaker and self-proclaimed kindness expert. She’s spirited, delightful and honest about who she is and what inspires her.
The ultimate goal is to encourage people to be themselves, be more accepting of differences and in turn, create more fulfilling lives, healthier relationships and safer communities.
In 1966, at age 3, the Pakistani native was scooped up by a Dutch couple in a rare, cross-cultural adoption. It was a very risky move at the time and was only successful thanks to the daring work of a British couple, volunteering at the orphanage. Their act of kindness and uninhibited generosity changed her world and set the stage for her life’s work. It’s the beacon of hope that has helped her rise above situations that might have otherwise, left her in darkness. Bullied for her different looks and singled out for her outspoken nature, Gabriella initially struggled to embrace who she was, but ultimately chose to see the world through empathy, wonderment and appreciation.
“I always felt very connected to people and I believe that one of the reasons for that is that I have no country, I have no culture ... so, I have this attitude, who’s my next best friend?” Gabriella explains. With a little giggle she adds, “When you have the ‘disadvantage’ of having a family, you might not look at it that way. Belonging to an entire family, you might not have the need to look at the rest of the world.”
The former tech-guru turned writer and influencer now has three books to her name and Gabriella wants you to join her latest publication. Her #DaretobeKind movement now includes an effort to create a new book made up of a collection of your stories about bravery, tolerance, growth, perseverance and more. How has kindness influenced your life? Gabriella wants to share your experiences with others because doing so comes with the potential to create great impact far beyond measure. A snowball effect that will help change the course.
“Your silence is complicity. Speak up," she says with certainty. Gabriella believes instigators of kindness learn to effectively communicate and manage their feelings. Doing so, creates a beautiful place of vulnerability that puts us all on the same level. After all, we’re only human, right?! No one is perfect, big emotions happen, but learning how to move past the conflict is key.
“You take your pain, you turn it into your greatest strength, which in turn makes you the causes best ally.”
Your story can inspire others, create new connections and spark ideas. Part of Gabriella’s #DaretobeKind goal is to make sure you recognize that, appreciate it and proudly share your own story no matter how many twists and turns it has.
“By reading the stories, I hope people sit in the bookshop and think ‘I’ve got an idea of what I’m going to do in my own community. If they can do it, I can do it!’" Gabriella thoughtfully envisions. "I hope they're little footprints that are left." She also hopes someone suffering in silence realizes they’re not alone and walks away with the courage they need to take charge of their life through positive change.
You can also submit original artwork inspired by kindness. A powerful image can sometimes say far more than words ever could. I even submitted a sweet crayon-drawn photo of flowers created by my almost 4-year-old daughter. All ages are welcome to participate. The publishing goal is Thanksgiving 2018.
Gabriella has big plans to eventually develop the #DaretobeKind movement into a television series too, so this is your chance to hop on the bandwagon and help spread joy one act of kindness at a time.
- One Moment
- One Person
- One Kindness
Join her, join me. Let’s make a difference together!
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