Kindness sees, connects and forgives

I must say a huge thanks to Lauren Hug for the title for this blog – please watch her TEDx talk (embedded below) and you’ll see what I mean. Lauren sees practicing kindness in how we communicate on social media as a key way to transform how we connect with each other. It is also a great way to enhance how we communicate with anyone, anywhere, to really build our relationships with others. Please take a bit of time to watch this video (it’s about 15 mins long) – Lauren shares a personal story and really lets us see her, giving each of us an opportunity to connect with her whether you’ve met her in person or not.


To share our ideas, in fact to work as a team with other people we must have trust before we can communicate openly. And in order to have trust kindness is a key component. Only if I think I’m likely to be met by kindness from someone who will really listen to what I have to share will I open up about what I’m working on, my experience and where I’m getting stuck.*


If you watch the video then firstly, thanks for taking the time to do it. And I request you do one more thing – leave a comment on the video (you probably have to go to YouTube for this or comment on this post and I will forward to Lauren) that makes it visible you watched and connected with what she says. Views & Likes are one thing, but they leave so little of ourselves. Please share something you got from watching her video: no matter how small a thing it seems to you, it is valuable.

That will be you connecting, visibly, with another human being. It’s not just good for you, it’s good for all of us :-)


*(See my post on Star Wars, talking and motivation for an idea why opening up could be useful when working in a team)

Also a massive thanks to Jonas Vincent for the image via unsplash which made me think so much of kindness, connection and creating space to share our experiences with others.


6 responses to “Kindness sees, connects and forgives”

  1. Chris Foster avatar
    Chris Foster

    Hi Louise, great post and love the picture of the “high five”!.
    I found Lauren’s video interesting but the social media aspect kept circling in my mind afterwards…
    Whilst I am a user of some social media (Twitter mainly – never had a FB account) I am always aware of how engineered the posts are. Every photo, every tweet and hashtag has been carefully constructed to show only one perspective. I say every, really I mean most – your posts, Louise come across as natural and I always appreciate seeing the nature pictures in my timeline. :) However, what concerns me is that most people who use social media are looking for immediate gratification and self indulgence which I just don’t think is the best way to communicate with each other. SM is fun and should be taken lightly. It can be useful but it can also be dangerous – like most forms of media I guess. Only yesterday for example, I saw a tweet from a well known fiction author that appeared to post his reply to a personal attack by President Elect Trump – only it was fake. The point is, not only has the person continued to do this, achieving over 20k retweets and almost 50k Likes – presumably so that he could “cash in” on the negative portrayal of Trump’s SM account but what it has really done is helped fuel the negative fire against Trump which lets face it, the world does not need more confusion the eve before his inauguration…. This leads to me to another thought, when the alleged “leader of the free world” feels that it his duty to spread hate, it is going to be a hard time to change the behaviours of everyone else.
    I guess my point is that whilst I agree that if people could use social media as a force for good, the (virtual world at least) could be a better place but there are a lot of vulnerable people out there who will not see the irony.
    We are extremely social and tactile beings – to quote Peter Gabriel “(we) need contact!”.
    I think, what you do with your blog, Louise is a much better way of spreading kindness through social media.
    Lauren’s video is of a personal account, and whilst poignant, the anger that she felt is a perfectly natural way of dealing with grief – I feel that this needs to be emphasised. It was great that she experienced kindness from a stranger who was doing their job (if only everyone in customer service could be this way!) and this has helped her to realise the power of kindness but I think it is important to note that it is not always going to be possible to step into the shoes of others. What we really need to do is be there for each other and really listen to those in need. Be aware of those who are trying to reach out to someone, anyone. The notion of kindness has been around for generations and the messages are out there – take John Lennon’s Imagine or the Beetle’s All you need is love… Perhaps the most important behaviour change that can happen for the future is that kindness – as a way of life – should begin at education.
    PS – I love Buffy too.

    1. Hi Chris,

      I also love Buffy! Haven’t watched it for years and I keep thinking I should get hold of a few seasons and re-watch. Takes me back to being at Uni when I watched it every week …

      Thanks for taking the time to read my post, watch the video and leave a comment :) I really agree with you & Peter Gabriel & we need contact. And you got a song lyric in there ;-) And isn’t that another part of the issue we’re talking about: we’re human beings, we need actual contact with others and how we express ourselves / how we want to be heard isn’t inherently polished, super coherent and PR checked from every available angle for possible controversy.

      The thing I have always loved about Twitter is that it’s a bit like a global workplace kitchen. I get to ‘bump into’ people I may not meet or see often otherwise and get a small insight into who they are when they relax or let down their guard for a moment. Twitter solely as a media platform doesn’t interest me. My partner was just telling me how much he likes getting a tiny vignette into the lives of one of our neighbours (we live in a block of flats) – maybe a snippet of conversation or laughter floats out from an opened window.

      And, like you say about anger being a perfectly natural part of grief, part of really connecting with people is that real lives are messy – they involve feelings. We all experience grief, anger, sadness as well as joy, excitement and wonder. What really interests me is figuring out how to create relationships and communities where it’s okay (and not damaging) to express what is really going on for you and, conversely, to listen to what’s really going on for other people (without damaging or failing to care for ourselves).

      I love the idea of bringing kindness into education … it fills me with hope. I also feel overwhelmed and totally inadequate when I try and think about how to achieve it. I have ideas about things / concepts / practices that are important but nothing more concrete than that. One of my challenges is to just START expressing my thoughts and ideas never mind how rough they seem to me … hey Chris shall we try and get together to chat about it in person?

  2. First of all, wow! Thank you, Louise, for sharing my TEDx Talk, and for the lovely thoughts you’ve surrounded it with. Genuine human connection is vital, and we must recognize that technology impacts how we connect … and we must be purposeful about how we use it. Last night, a dear friend I met through Twitter spent hours helping my family navigate education choices for one of my children. I have no idea if or how I would have met her without social media, but I can’t imagine not knowing her now.

    Which brings me to Chris’s point. I completely agree that there is far too much fake and manufactured content out there in the digital realm … and there are vulnerable people consuming it. In fact, in the book I am currently working on, there’s an entire chapter about the need to be conscious of how our social media posts impact others and how a willingness to share a little of our real life mess builds genuine connections. Much of how we’ve interacted and consumed social media thus far has been reactive, which has left us vulnerable to the machinations of those using it purposefully for financial or political gain. If, however, more humans choose to use social media purposefully for the mere sake of “being human”, social media then becomes a tremendous education tool — the humanities in real time in the palm of our hands. :)

    Thank you so much, Chris, for sharing your thoughts! I’ll be pondering them for quite some time as I continue to speak and write on this topic. Please feel free to respond and share any more thoughts you have. I deeply appreciate those who take kindness seriously. All the best!

    1. Chris Foster avatar
      Chris Foster

      I would definitely be interested to read you book when it is complete. I often wonder what the next phase of social media will be or what will become of the ones already in existence. Really, they are still in infancy so it will be very interesting to see how things adapt as our understanding of them and the world around us changes. Especially the use of language and its discourse around the globe in particular, various perceptions and understanding on the definition of kindness.
      For example, I learn’t recently that in Japan, people say thank you (or arigatou) a lot less than one might think. Instead, they say suminmasen which translates more as sorry. It means both being thankful of for example, a small gesture like giving a fellow commuter your seat but also apologising for inconveniencing them. It can also be used in other context like getting someone’s attention but more often it is used in place of a simple thank you.
      It makes me wonder what we can learn from other cultures in respect of acts of kindness. I know that a lot of research has been done in various countries on the way in which social media is used and comparing them with each other – it is certainly fascinating.

      1. People, language, culture, technology — they’re all fascinating! if more people adopted the perspective of open-minded curiosity about fellow humans (instead of my way is the only way and anyone who does it differently is wrong/bad), the world would be a much better place.

        I love the way you think, Chris! :)

    2. Hi Lauren,

      I’m so thrilled to participate and discover some people who are willing to speak out on things I care about! So glad I spotted your video and before that, that Neil introduced us on Twitter … again it’s all about making connections.

      I spend a lot of time pondering how to make things ‘real’ and what actually matters to real human beings – it’s really good to connect with others on it. I’m really motivated to figure out ways to bring kindness and compassion to our worklives, it seems so eerily absent in many of the jobs I’ve done. Social media poses new questions about how we manage our public and private lives (does the distinction still hold even?) and is really relevant for how we think about our public work lives – traditionally very separate from our private lives.

      I’m also really moved by Chris’s point about bringing kindness into education – this has me thinking … Hope the work on the book goes well, I’d also love to read it once it is out there. Keep doing the good work and getting your thinking out there and inspiring others, you lovely lady :-)