I was people watching the other day, (something I LOVE to do... usually) and I have to say that it was a sad turn of events. It seemed like every single person was having a bad day. I was outside sitting on a bench watching people of all age groups, shapes, sizes and colors, meander about. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, not too cold and the sun was shining. That's enough right there for me to be grinning like an idiot at everyone that passes... hmm, maybe I was. That's why I wasn't getting responses!
I digress. As I am watching the folks I couldn't help but notice the extreme LACK of kindness. Just in general. The workers at the food truck did not smile at their customers. The parents were short with their children. Passersby lacked common manners when accidentally bumping into one another. Family units separated by technology and passing up this amazing time to interact. No one held open the door for ANYONE! How have we come so far from common decency toward our fellow man? Are we all so busy that we can't stop for a moment and recognize the person standing next to us, sitting across from us, or smile back at me!!!
What is kindness? Maybe we have skipped a generation where that was taught? Is kindness a characteristic or is it something that can be learned? Are we born to naturally be kind and then lose it along the way as we shift our thinking to the "me first" mentality? Or is it something that we don't even notice until it is brought to our attention?
Well... here I am. Bringing it to your attention.
Kindness means seeing the value in every person we meet. Every person. Some might take a little bit of searching, but there is value there. And not just seeing the value, but acting on it.
We as humans were made for relationships. We were born to be integrated into tribes. We need each other to survive. Yes, yes, I know, there's an exception to every rule, but for the most part, we need to be loved and appreciated by others. Kindness is just a form of that love. A smile, a nod, a kind gesture... all ways of expressing that a person is valued. It's that simple people.
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."
What are you doing to show kindness to others? It doesn't take a whole production, it could be something simple as:
- letting someone with fewer items go ahead of you in the grocery line
- buy the person's coffee behind you in the drive-thru lane
- opening the door for someone
- letting another driver over during traffic
- smiling at the teller at the bank
- adding coins to the charity bucket of your choice
- putting down your cell phone when a loved one comes in the room to talk to you
- watching what your kids want to watch instead of your choice
- slipping a note into your husband's lunch.
- complimenting a stranger
- leaving a gift for someone anonymously
- offering to do a chore around the house
- helping out a co-worker or classmate with an assignment
- offering a smile...
What kind things have you done today? How are you making those around you feel loved and valued? What kinds of things can you add to your weekly routine to increase the acts of kindness? And most importantly, how does it make you feel when you see the results of you tiny acts of love?
Let's make a difference in the world. Let's take care of our tribe. Let's learn (again) how to love and value one another with every kind of kindness!