Good morning….wish you were having coffee with me so you could see the joyful contentment on my face. It is a rare but more frequently (happily) occurring situation for me. If you know me at all you know I speak a lot about kindness. Just general, everyday, genuine kindness – it goes with my old school (emphasis on old, ha ha) idea that kindness is part of the basics like respect, courtesy, and deference when appropriate. I know, I know….there she goes again, but while I absolutely do not get it right all the time, I think we make things so much harder than we need to in this area. We need to stop looking for a reason to be cranky – I know I do.
Anyway, I saw this post the other day that said:
“Helping one person may not change the world, but it could change the world for one person.”
I thought…that is what I have said (not as eloquently) for years. I used to tell someone I once knew “we can’t change the whole world, but we can change our part of the world…our little space is ours to make better.” For me, thinking I want to change the world would be overwhelming and seemingly impossible. It would make me do less I think not more since the expanse is too big to grasp.
Rather than that, I like looking at my space, my neighborhood, church, grocery store, workplace, workout place and the like. I have learned it does not take monumental or extravagant gestures to make a difference. It doesn’t take money or materialism. In truth, it takes a very small, but genuine acts, to make the biggest of impacts. For example, I teach a group fitness class a couple of days a week and this weekend it was just one where the “happy” was real, and big and with everyone at my class. It was even present while I was doing errands and at church that night. I got home and thought – this was a day to be so grateful for. Not because anything out of the ordinary happened really – it was just a mindset and we all seemed to share it. My fitness class had such energy; a fantastic group of people with whom I get to share an hour a couple times a week and I LOVE it. I posted my appreciation by saying I GET TO DO THIS….fantastic.
Here comes the small act of kindness that made a huge impact. Class was Saturday. On Sunday I was doing laundry and grabbed my workout bag to make sure I got my stinky socks out of it (note to self, do not leave stinky socks in your bag overnight…just sayin’). As I did I saw something I had not seen before….took it out and there was a small square with a note on it. That alone made my heart full – someone had left something in my bag after class. No matter what it was, I knew it would be thoughtful. Well, it was….the note thanked me for being kind. Can you imagine….holy moly. It stopped me and I, at that moment was so grateful. When I opened it, well, see it below. I am not identifying the person for privacy and I have already contacted them to say thank you…but when I think about this gesture, it means more to me than I can properly express.
Sometimes, It’s the Smallest Act of Kindness…
I have often told people, I don’t want anything material….I much rather a handwritten note, or a message left on a voicemail, or a text that simply says, “thinking of you.” Grandness is not the point…nice, maybe, but those things I keep in my memory box are almost all handmade, handwritten or lovely little trinkets that took time, thought and care. For those of us creatively challenged, my go to quite honestly is flowers. I love flowers, have them all the time…..I love sending flowers to folks at random and for no reason at all – men and women. To me, they just add some happy to the room. The point is, the ‘it” doesn’t matter….the thought truly is what matters, no doubt about that. I received the nicest piece of jewelry from someone once (a long time ago) it is was presented in such a way that was clearly without thought…more like there was a need, jewelry seemed good – here ya go. In that case, honest conversation, a glass of wine or a handwritten note would have meant far more to me than sapphires and diamonds. It was pretty but without beauty.
The point here is we can in fact change our part of the world, the world of one someone by simply being kind. Want to try something fun? Next time you are at a restaurant, any restaurant…fast food, coffee shop, burger joint, gas station….whatever…without telling them, buy someone their stuff. Simply go to the counter, or the manager and tell them to put it on your bill and walk away. If you able to see the person’s response when they are told it is covered – you will not stop smiling for the entire day. It usually stuns them, they question it and usually the person telling them starts to grin from ear to ear too. It is small, it is simple, but you can change the course of someone’s day and who knows what else. The trick here is not letting them know it was you who provided the kindness.
The other thing I try to do now is when someone pops in my head and it seems random, I no longer say to myself, I will call them later, or I will get with them tomorrow. Through much “experience”, tomorrow is simply not promised. I send a text now or leave a message – sometimes it is just an emoji, other times I say simply “I was thinking of you today….hope you are well.” Almost without fail…not always, but a lot of the time I get a note back that says ‘ how did you know,” or “you made my day” or thank you, I needed that today. I think that is a God thing, I really do.
You may at some point change the world and I applaud you, but for us mortals, changes a small piece of your world is pretty great. Touching even one person, one situation, one issue is such a gift. Remember it doesn’t have to be BIG, just big hearted, true and genuine.
Go now…change your part of the world – I know you can do it. Please share your kindness experience.
Please take care of you. I wish you today, as in all days, a good day.