How many opportunities have you had this week to be kind to someone else? A stranger maybe, someone you bump into at the office or the aisles at the grocery store. In the last four days alone I’ve had at least thirty. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that in that same period I’ve only made the time for that moment of kindness about three times. The other 27 I was busy, felt just a little too self-important or preoccupied with my own challenges.
Thankfully, in those 27 interactions there were people much more open and warm than I, and I was on the receiving end of the moment of kindness. Every time one of those people took a minute to share kindness, encourage me in my journey, or just give a compliment that “too busy/self-important/preoccupied” façade was challenged. If only I had stacked up enough of those in the beginning of the week!
Because here’s the truth, we all feel good when people are nice to us. Duh. But somehow I forget it, I guess? Life is busy and full of challenges and sometimes it’s overwhelming or unpredictable and we get stressed and frustrated and tuned in to only our own issues. This week I was reminded that whatever’s going on, being cold or dismissive of others doesn’t make it better.
It feels rather basic, and I’m sure you’ve heard it in a number of iterations, but it really doesn’t cost anything to be kind. Kindness isn’t ever wasted. It is always possible to be nice to someone else. And dwelling on the suck in your own life really doesn’t ever help.
Hopefully you have some radically nice people in your life. Some friends or family or even co-workers who show you such love, and respect and humanity that your life is constantly infused with it. When we get the chance to experience this kind of benevolence it’s a whole lot easier to think of giving it out again.
Now I’m not talking about buying expensive gifts for everyone you know, letting so many people merge in front of you that you spend an extra hour commuting, or taking 10 minutes with every person you meet in case they need to talk. I’m suggesting that maybe life would be brighter and more beautiful for all of us if we spent a minute sharing stories with the over-talkative lady in the grocery store. If we shared an optimistic joke with the guy in front of us in a long line. Maybe things would feel easier if we spent a minute appreciating the successes of someone else.
Our lives might just be sweeter when we spend the random little moments being kind.