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The importance of Kindness

#Lesson: Just Be Kind

Simple acts of kindness, no matter how big or small can go a long way-providing important benefits to both the recipient and those who initiate the acts. With all of the challenges that we are facing in the world, now more than ever is the time to be kind. Simply sending a thoughtful note to a friend, smiling at the barista who makes your coffee or tea, or just letting someone in front of you in the grocery store line can make a huge difference in someone’s day. It takes very little effort, to just be kind.

I know that when someone extends an act of kindness to me, it makes my heart melt. It can be as small as someone returning your cart for you at the grocery store, or telling someone what you like about them, such as, “your smile lights up the room, it makes me feel so good when I see you”. This helps to create a connection with someone else, which is important for our overall well-being. Due to the digital age in which we all live, we are losing our human connection by communicating with text messages and emojis on our devices, rather than having a real conversation. A face-to-face interaction is an act of kindness that reminds us of the importance of connecting with each other.

It took me a long time to learn the fine balance between giving and receiving in regard to kindness. It is just as important to be the recipient of a kind gesture as it is to be the giver. It is sometimes difficult for me to be on the receiving end of an act of kindness. I sometimes would not permit friends or neighbors offering a kind gesture to follow through on their kind offer. They would offer a ride to to the airport for a trip, help with changing a hard to reach light bulb, etc. and I would refuse the kind offer. I felt uncomfortable as I never want anyone to go out of their way to assist me. Not long ago, someone brought a thought into my awareness about the importance of being a gracious receiver. They shared with me, that receiving is an act of kindness, making someone else feel good by allowing them to be the giver. With that being said, I reviewed my thinking about receiving kindness from someone. It is never my intention to take advantage of anyone with a kind heart and to always be a taker. However, I found that it is just as important to be a gracious receiver as it is to be a generous giver.

Recently, while shopping in the grocery store, I was looking at a selection of pork tenderloin and the lady beside me made a comment about the nice appearance of the meat. She said that she did not typically eat pork because her husband was not so fond of that type of meat. I shared that I had just found a lime marinade that worked really well with the tenderloin on the grill. This interchange led to a conversation about her two marriages, her current husband, her existing health situation and some other life history facts. I patiently listened as she shared this information with me, even though my husband was hanging around waiting to continue with our shopping. I always try to keep in mind, that you don’t know what someone else is going through in their life. That may have been her only interaction she had that week, maybe she needed to chat with someone other than her spouse, maybe she got bad health news and she was feeling lonely, etc. You never really know what someone else is experiencing and you can help to make someone else’s day, by just being kind.

She left the grocery store that day with the pork tenderloin, the lime marinade and some cilantro lime rice I suggested to accompany the meat. We had a pleasant interaction, laughed a little together and we each went on our separate ways. I left feeling good that I was able to share something new with someone else and hopefully added some variety to her meal preparation. Her husband may not enjoy it as much, but she ultimately thought she could slide it by him. It was a small exchange, nevertheless it made me to feel as the world is not full of mindless robots out doing their chores. It reminded me that people are still hungry for human interaction, no matter how big or small.

I invite you to consider doing a kind act, creating an increased sense of connection with another person, which in turn, will help others see the worth and value in their own lives. I encourage you to introduce yourself to someone new, maybe a neighbor whom you have never met, someone at the coffee shop, grocery store, at the lunch table beside you, etc. I encourage you to engage in new activities and opportunities to form new long-lasting friendships. Most of all, I encourage you to be open to your opportunity to be kind. Kindness shows up in various shapes and forms, if you are open to the suggestion, the universe will provide you with many opportunities to be kind on a daily basis. When it presents itself, just be kind.

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