Today I’m grateful for kindness!
It’s Random Acts of Kindness Day today so I thought it would be appropriate to blog about it.
I’m a firm believer in kindness and at first glance it might seem silly to have just one day a year dedicated to it. However, we all need a reminder sometimes to focus on the good things, whether that’s kindness, gratitude or maybe a recognition of life’s small pleasures… We can all get caught up in the cycle of the every day and sometimes that can stop us from being the kindest versions of ourselves. Perhaps we get disproportionately annoyed at poor driving, or feel like the world is against us when we make a few mistakes. Perhaps we get over sensitive and misinterpret what someone says to us, or over analyse a situation or conversation. Either way, it’s good to take stock and step back to gain perspective.
Kindness can have a huge impact on a person’s day. We don’t know what everyone is going through, and even if you think you know someone really well might be dealing with things you have no awareness of. Just smiling at someone on the street, holding the door open for a stranger, or complementing a friend might turn someone’s day around. I know that when I have had difficult days I have received kindness and encouragement that has turned my frame of mind from negative to positive. Sometimes all you need is for someone to give you back the faith you’ve lost. For them to say, directly or indirectly, ‘I believe in you’ or ‘You can do this’.
Towards the end of semester I was waiting at the bus stop for one of the ever-unreliable buses that operate around our university campus. If you live or park on the farthest reaches you are eligible for a free bus pass, but the buses aren’t renowned for being on time. It was cold and raining and I was really hoping that it wasn’t going to be a day when I had to walk in. I was waiting with a few other people and on the verge of giving up when another girl decided to head off on foot rather than hang around any longer. I pondered for a minute or so more and then decided to walk as well. I’m a fast walker and soon caught her up, and offered to share my umbrella since she didn’t have one. She was a total stranger but we chatted a little as we walked in, then went our separate ways. I didn’t know her name and I probably wouldn’t know her again if I passed her on the pavement, but at least she didn’t have to sit through her lectures with wet clothing.
In those kind of situations we have a choice. I very nearly hurried on by, glad for my umbrella and annoyed that the bus hadn’t turned up. But instead I turned around and asked her if she wanted shelter, and I’m hopeful that it had a positive effect on her day – I know I walked the rest of the way to my lecture feeling pleased to have made the right choice. And I tell you the above story not to blow my own trumpet but just to give an example about how a small thing can have a big difference, for you and for others. Being kind gives you a unique glow-y feeling inside.
Until I went to sixth form I didn’t really have any friends that I was super close to, and I never really felt in-sync with anyone. Sixth form wasn’t a great time in my life, but I did meet my two best friends and I am ever grateful for that fact. They are two of the most wonderful people you could wish to meet and have kindness in abundance. They have opened my eyes to so many new things, have stuck with me through thick and thin and wouldn’t hesitate to help me if I was in a tight spot. Life and its inherent busy-ness keeps us separated for months at a time, but whenever we get together it’s as if we saw each other last week. One of them is doing a History PhD and I admire her for her extraordinary intelligence and her unquenchable thirst for knowledge. I’m really looking forward to being able to write ‘Dr.’ on the letters/cards I post to her! The other is doing a Primary PGCE and I know that she is going to be the kindest, most enthusiastic primary teacher ever! Her sense of fun and adventure knows no bounds and I know that she’ll inspire each young person she comes across. I sent them both letters today (sorry beans – spoiler alert! Watch for my owl…) just to remind them that they’re loved a lot!
This post has become a bit of an epic, so well done if you’re still with me! In closing, I’d like to leave you with this quote:
Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love.