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“Be Kind. It Matters.”

with 2 comments

In late December, or maybe mid, I can’t be certain, as my brain was muzzy with caffeine and wine and cries for rest, I stumbled on a signature in a political forum. I see many signatures every day, attached to text messages, e-mails, posts, status updates. I’m a little fascinated by signatures, and what they say about the writer. Is it a song lyric? A bit of a poem? An inspirational quote from a famous author? Does the sender use it to shore up an image? Advertise a company or brand? Are they talking to the reader, or are they a personal reminder to the writer?

This signature was brief, just four words long:

Be Kind. It Matters.

Each word was capitalized, the formality of correctness dispensed with in order to stress the importance of each term. I read it as a challenge. It made an impression on me, so much that I decided to add it to my outgoing emails beginning January first. Could I be kind, knowing that to someone…it might really matter?

We’re a week into the new year. It’s been harder than I ever imagined, to have to face  that signature, clinging as it does to the bottoms of email replies from friends and colleagues.


“Be Kind.”

…to myself, to people I don’t normally correspond with, to people who have, in the past, hurt my feelings, even when I don’t feel like being kind or nice or think in my own shallow judgement that they (or I) “deserve” it.

“It Matters.”

…because I don’t really “know” anyone’s thoughts or situation, because I don’t know if someone is ill, or depressed, or hurting, because maybe just someone who is a really good person is  having a really bad day.

Sometimes it’s hard to be kind. Even when you know it matters. I wonder how long I’ll be able to leave it as my signature.

Written by Jen Szymanski

January 8, 2013 at 10:24 am

Posted in Personal

Tagged with ,

2 Responses

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  1. Hi, I was just browsing the website, since I’m a new member and thought your contribution a really nice one. It appeals to me in a very personal and “at-this-moment” way. Being kind and perhaps also having an open attitude toward life in general is still a very underestimated idea. Nevertheless, no one is free from mood swings. Thank you for sharing.


    April 28, 2013 at 11:17 am

    • Thank you for your kind comment. I agree, no one is free from having a stressful or bad day; I just feel that sometimes we forget that kindness, like many things, is a habit – one we must deliberately practice. I was feeling like I needed a reminder the day I wrote that post.

      Jen Szymanski

      April 28, 2013 at 11:30 am

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