More than once, I've been told I'm too kind. People believe I'm weak.

I'm not.

On the contrary, I believe kindness is the most important trait a person can have. Kindness is a trait my mother embedded in me. Growing up, I watched her do random acts of kindness - grocery shopping for a neighbor who was ill or allowing friends to stay with us during times of turmoil. I saw how people lightened up. Smiles formed. People respected my mother. Meanwhile, Mom felt goodness in her heart.

Kindness isn't always helping people we know. It's also helping those we do not know. For example, I work in New York City, and everyone is constantly rushing. It's rare when people actually stop and take a good look at their surroundings. There are many homeless people sitting quietly in various street corners, not asking for money or holding signs - just hoping someone might hand over a hot meal or leftovers. When these people do receive a hot cup of coffee or a sandwich, you see how simple things warm their hearts. They gain hope. They realize there are good people out there.

Kindness is the most important trait because:

It breeds respect

Oftentimes, we tend to forget everything except for one thing: how people treat us. If others approach us with unkind hearts, dismissing our needs, we keep them at arm's length. We may or may not give those people second chances. Now, imagine if people felt that way about you. Being kind to others plants positivity in people's lives. Your kindness will be remembered and respected.

It breeds goodness

You are going through a rough patch. Perhaps things at work are not going so well or there are struggles at home. You want to give up. Then, you come across someone in need - someone who needs immediate support. You forget how you are feeling and, without thinking twice, you help this person overcome his struggle. When you help others overcome despair, you will feel proud. Goodness will fill your heart.

It breeds hope

When people are at their lowest, they begin to lose their faith. They begin to question God because they are facing one hardship after another - a death of a family member, illness, lack of funds or unemployment. When you come along and extend a helping hand, you give comfort or shelter. You offer hope. Through your kindness, others regain their faith and realize God has not let them down. God puts you in others' paths for a reason.

Kindness is powerful and meaningful. It goes a long way. At the end of the day, kindness brings you a sense of gratification, but, more importantly, it allows you to bring happiness and hope back into the lives of others.

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