The importance of being kind
Have gratitude and keep a happy heart.
Illustration by Jaymee L. Amores
The importance of being kind
NEW BEGINNINGS - Büm D. Tenorio Jr. (The Philippine Star) - December 29, 2019 - 12:00am

At the beginning of my Sunday Writing Class in Gulod this year, I told my students that it’s always important to be kind. Some people will fail you, neglect you, prefer others over you, treat you unkindly, abuse your kindness, break their promise, make you feel unimportant. Still, remain kind.

Kindness makes you happy. And at the end of the day, even without the wealth of the world, kindness makes you a rich person in more ways than one.

“How can one be kind if one has nothing?” one student asked.

“Kindness is its own currency,” I said. “It is everything.”

Another year is about to start. Allow kindness to still rule your world.

Here are my random thoughts and other reflections for 2020. Let’s start the New Year with utmost optimism.

1. Have gratitude and keep a happy heart. Allow your life to be a canvas of gratitude. The ability of a man to recognize and remember good deeds done to him is called gratitude. To be grateful is to have a happy heart.

2. Step out of your comfort zone. Getting outside your comfort zone prepares you to be more productive, creative and flexible. I’m so used to taking a Grab, it’s time for me to take the wheel. So, A-1, here I come. And when I know how to drive, I will endeavor to take a new route going home. I will also try a new food — burger. I don’t know how a burger tastes like. I developed a disliking for it due to a childhood experience. (I will write about it next time.)

3. Be a blessing hunter. Someone told me that the biggest blessing one does not appreciate all the time is the dawning of a new day in one’s life. The fact that you wake up today is already a blessing. My late father would always say, “Salamat at inabot na naman tayo ng bagong umaga,” every day that he woke up.

4. Fall in love head over heels. And if you don’t find love in the arms of someone, fall in love with yourself. Take care of yourself.

5. Hope. In dire situations, hope. In pain, hope. When you stop hoping, you stop living.

6. Practice gentleness. Courtesy is a lonely word, not everybody has it. Still be gentle to those who don’t practice it. When someone is slow on the road, stop the machismo of saying, “Babae siguro ang driver.” Bury misogyny. It’s already 2020. When your opinion is not necessary, practice gentleness. So, in reunions, stop humiliating someone to get married because he or she is already past the marrying stage. Stop the practice of body shaming, too.

7. Know when to quit. Not all problems can be solved. Most can be remedied. But when all efforts have been exacerbated and used and still the problem persists, quit. My goddaughter loved her boyfriend to high heavens. When he played the field three times, three times she forgave him. On the fourth trust-issue offense, she trusted herself to quit him. She sent me a message that the pain she felt cut like a knife. I sent her this poem I wrote myself:

Deep in the Dusk

The deepest secret of the day is carried by the dusk,

masked in its colors,

camouflaging with the breeze.

The deepest hurt of the heart is allowed to set with the sun,

buried or splayed in the darkened night.

The hardest goodbye is the one that lulls and lilts,

the one that hums,

the kind that lounges in the mind.

The hardest goodbye is set free by the heart,

let loose by the desire to find the self,

 to find anew the spirit, the soul.

The sweetest smile is born

when darkness is befriended by the thought, the belief,

the conviction that the dawning of a new day is within sight.

The sweetest smile comes from the heart,

cumbersome no more from the trouble of the night.

But first, the night. The long, long night.

Then sunlight comes.

A new day has begun.

8. Be kind to yourself.

9. Celebrate your family while the moment still counts and the time still matters. Many will pose the threat of leaving you, except your family and the friends who have become your family.

10. Be a good steward of the environment. We only have one home.

11. Celebrate the child in you. Laugh a lot. Laugh at your own follies. Don’t take yourself so seriously.

12. Pray. The minute you wake up, pray. When you take a bath, brush your teeth, comb your hair, say a prayer, thank God. When you’re on the road, battling the city traffic, thank God. One lesson I learned from STAR president Miguel Belmonte is to pray for guidance the minute I arrive at work.

13. Keep focused. In a world that’s spinning too fast, it’s very easy to lose yourself. Go back to your bearing and keep focused. Being focused spells productivity.

14. Appreciate silence. Chase moments while being still.

15. Drink water. Many of us forget this because we live in a busy world. Early on, my mother taught me that water is the cure-all. When I was running a fever when I was a kid, my mother would perform magic: “Abrakadabra, inumin mo ang tubig na ito at gagaling ka.” We had no money to go to the doctor or buy Medicol. But my mother was creative enough to keep me hydrated. Her love always heals. 

16. Be kind to animals.

17. Be a peacemaker. A conduit is all it takes for two people or two groups to be at peace again. Listen to rants of both parties. Don’t fan the flames. Highlight the strengths of both and point them out without causing agitation on both fences. Wait for the right timing. And bring peace.

18. Celebrate friendships. Party with your friends. Talk to them. Watch the sunrise or sunset with your friends.

19. Smile. You just don’t know the power of your smile to someone who feels the weight of the world on his or her shoulders. A smile can thaw a frozen heart. It can also give hope to someone in despair. It can also spark magic.

20. Let kindness reign. You will do good to the world and you may not be recognized for your deeds. Do good still. You do good because it is required of your soul and spirit. Be kind still. Your kindness is its own reward, its own recognition. *

(For your new beginnings, e-mail me at I’m also on Twitter @bum_tenorio and Instagram @bumtenorio. Have blessed Sunday. Happy New Year!)

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