A kind revolution: 
the courage 
to change the world

"Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If we could look down from above on today's world, the view that would spread out in front of us would be anything but idyllic. The climate crisis, unfettered individualism and hyper-competitiveness make us anxious, always in a hurry, and assault us with distressing thoughts of the future. But don't panic, the antidote is within reach, and it is called kindness.

Kindness has a simple nature, but it is often misunderstood: we think that kindness is good manners, courtesy, peace or love, but it is something much deeper. Kindness is care and attention to everything around us, wherever we turn: it is respect for other humans and other species, the planet we call home, and, last but not least, ourselves.

Kindness has overwhelming transformative power that changes our internal and external world. It is able to overcome cultural and gender differences, to trigger a virtuous circle of wellbeing and positivity. Being kind profoundly improves our quality of life: it reduces anxiety and stress, increases self-esteem, and makes us feel happier and more satisfied, allowing us to face everyday problems more calmly.

My relationship with kindness began eighteen years ago.

Back then, constantly travelling between Milan, New York and Hong Kong, I would often stop to observe things. Not just from aeroplane windows at high altitude, but above all on the street, surrounded by people. The cities I was in continued to give me the same unpleasant feeling: unbridled coldness.

The same cities that held warm memories for me had become a grey, faceless urban landscape. I felt that I was at the mercy of a wave of selfishness, indifference and cynicism.
As often happens, great enlightenment comes out of the blue. And that is how it was; sharing a pizza with friends, the idea came to me: what if I did something to change things?

So, in 2011 I decided to try. I founded Gentletude Onlus in Milan, followed by Gentletude Switzerland in Lugano. Two non-profit associations with the goal of promoting kindness and improving the relationships between people. Both affiliated with the larger World Kindness Movement (WKM), founded in 1997 to connect nations and create a kinder world. The movement supports the 17 Sustainable Development Goals included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, considered as guidelines to spreading kindness around the world at every level.

One of the first actions of the association was the promotion of World Kindness Day. On 13th November 2011, we went out to the local markets in Milan to ask the street vendors what kindness meant to them. They thought we were mad. And how can you blame them - we were the only ones talking about it!
Since then, things have changed: last year on 13th November, Milan hosted thousands of events on the topic. A great achievement that we can be proud of, because we helped to give dignity to this topic in our country. The next step? Creating a European hub affiliated with the World Kindness Movement (WKM).

When I made the first step, I certainly couldn't have imagined that I would be chosen as president of the global movement, and that I would become an ambassador for kindness. Kindness has become my way to transform my experience of the world. And it can become yours, too!

Indeed, kindness is contagious. You may think that in a world like ours, training ourselves to be kind is impossible. But the studies of Professor Rizzolatti, a famous Italian neuroscientist, have shown the opposite. Kindness is innate: our brains are equipped with "mirror neurons" that are the foundation of our empathy, and allow us to experience the emotions and actions of others as if they were ours. So, we have the power to turn around a situation and help those who are overwhelmed by the ugliness of life to experience the transformative power of kindness.

After all, we are all connected, we are part of a great collective consciousness: a vital, vibrant mechanism that unites us all. We all share the same earthly experience, and, like a chain reaction, taking care of ourselves allows us to take care of others. Taking care of our planet allows us to take care of ourselves. The hidden power of kindness is the lifeblood that keeps us going.

On a planet where resources continue to run out, acting together is vital. Adopting behaviour such as donating items in good condition instead of throwing them away, sharing food and belongings with neighbours, and supporting companies with circular economy models, can reduce our negative environmental impact. Promoting kindness and solidarity creates a more positive, collaborative culture, for a sustainable, conscious society.

Have the courage to change the world, one act of kindness at a time.


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Enrica Mannari, the "emotional educator". The illustrator's commitment to launching restorative projects in Italy, with messages conveyed through drawing and writing.

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What does kindness have to do with our Stories of Sustainability?
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