A friend said recently: “I always feel better when someone smiles at me. It boosts my mood.” It was in response to one of my quips and she is absolutely right: a simple smile can make a difference.
An act of kindness can have a major impact on the recipient. And here is the amazing part: It is free (usually), hygienic, ethical, moral and (usually) legal. Now is that not a subversive idea?
We spend our lives in pursuit of . . . stuff. Money, power, recognition, acceptance are lures society spends its time chasing. Is that a good thing? Actually, it can be good and it could be bad. It all depends on the outcome. But kindness is something each and every one of us has the ability to pass on. It could be as simple as a smile or a handshake or as complicated as necessary to achieve a targeted goal. Kindness does not have a template that one has to follow. It is just being nice to a stranger or a friend. It’s giving up your seat on the bus to someone who looks exhausted. It’s crossing your eyes and smiling at child who is just curious about the world. Kindness is the woman in her 80s who takes dog cookies when she goes out for her daily walk. She always asked the owner if she could give them a cookie and the dogs look for her. Everyone is touched. Kindness.
I wonder if it is a word and an act has gone out of fashion. That would be such a shame. We now have automatic doors so no one has to open a door for another. We have automated cashiers so we don’t even have to talk when we buy groceries. That is so sad. If we lose the desire to perform kindness then we will have lost far too much, perhaps more than we can afford.
A great kindness was done to me recently. I was having my kitchen counter replaced and so I was without a stove top. Hence no ability to make a cup a tea. (No, I will not boil water for tea in a microwave!) I love my tea in the morning. A friend knew this. She called and told me she was coming over. She arrived with a thermos full of tea. It was my tea, steeped appropriately. I would have survived a day without a cup of tea but she knew I would miss it. This simple act of kindness touched me deeply.
A simple smile as you walk down the street can lift the spirits of another. But we have to start. Each and every one of us has the ability to smile but its only true value is when we smile at another. I wonder what the world would be like if more people practice kindness?
We need to be kind to each other.