I was lying next to my teenage daughter last night talking about life. We chatted about moving and finding new friend groups and how some high schoolers are really kind— and how others are not.

“Someday their mirrors will become windows, Mom.” she finally said. Her comment floored me. She wrapped up everything I try to teach about kindness in one sentence.

When we’re standing in front of a mirror, what do we see? Ourselves and usually only ourselves.

There was a time I lived in front of the mirror, in a constant state of self reflection. How does my life measure up? My house, my car, my kids, my friends, my job. It was all about me.

When I met a girl in a shiny gold bikini eight years ago, I had my first kindness AHA moment. I loved the feeling it gave me to connect with a stranger, so I wanted to keep doing it. I began scouting out the kindness around me and surprisingly to me, there was plenty to be found.

Kindness quickly changed my mirror into a window. All of a sudden, I was looking at other people, wondering what struggles they might be facing and if there was a way I could let them know I’m standing on the other side of the pane (or pain) waving and cheering them on.

The perspective of my own life changed because I wasn’t looking in the mirror wondering how this would all effect me, I was barely even seeing myself anymore because there were so many other interesting things to look at. Then, instead of standing there, perhaps judging from the other side of the glass, I longed to join in. And that’s when kindness really changed my life.

If you feel like you might be looking into a mirror these days, give the window a chance. There is a whole world of freedom waiting for you.