The Kindness you don’t expect

On Monday, the first day of early voting, I decided to brave the lines and vote. It was a little wet and chilly, but I set off, I actually had a great time talking to people in line, things were going great until we were waiting for over an hour and I had to leave for school pickup. I was so annoyed, I wanted so badly to do my civic duty, the one we keep extolling you all to do, to vote your conscience and for the candidates that most align to your world view. The couple behind me encouraged me to come back and see if they were still in line, but I knew timewise they wouldn’t be (I was not going to chance speeding in a school zone). I was trying to formulate in my mind if it would be okay to ask someone towards the front of the line if I could cut when a woman stopped me. She asked if I was leaving and I explained how I had to pick up my child, as school was letting out soon. She insisted I cut in front of her and then the man in front of her insisted I do the same!

I was so blown away, not because I expect the worst of people, I actually don’t, but because someone went out of their way for me without even being asked. I thanked all of them profusely, voted (which took a whole 60 seconds) and then waved to all my new friends as I headed out for school pickup (which I was on time for by the way)!

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
-Henry James

This got me thinking, why do we expect the very worst of people? I don’t think any one of us aim to be cynical, but over time, based on bad relationships and friends that let us down, a lot of us start getting a chip on our shoulder and we begin to prefer to do things on our own and in own way. I know I feel that way a lot, but it isn’t very healthy because we need others in our life for support and at times, guidance.

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
― Desmond Tutu

So instead of focusing on tips to enhance only our own life, this week we will instead brainstorm on how to show kindness to ourselves AND to others.

“Let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day:
- I shall not fear anyone on Earth.
- I shall fear only God.
- I shall not bear ill will toward anyone.
- I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
- I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

The first thing to remember about kindness is that while it usually makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside to perform a kindness, it should be about doing something for someone without the desire of getting anything back in return.

Some Tips:
*While donating your worn clothes and no longer used household items, a kinder donation would be to contact a school and ask about their giving closet. These typically stock all sorts of hygiene items, especially menstrual products, which are expensive and shockingly, a lot of girls have to worry about having the products they need during their time of the month. Ask what items you can buy for the school. Knowing that you have helped a child and their family maintain their dignity is a really empowering and kind way to give back.

*Instead of lashing out at people on social media because they support a different political party and/or views from your own, endeavor to teach or at the very least, state your point of view in a kind way. You may not change their mind, but you planted a seed. People can mull over viewpoints that are different then their own when it is presented in a kind way, anger makes most people respond in kind.

*Look for ways in everyday life to show a little kindness, hold open a door, give up your seat on public transportation, return a shopping cart for someone in a parking lot, let a parent with screaming kids go to the front of the grocery store line, buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you….

“Be a little kinder than you have to.”
― E. Lockhart, We Were Liars

Thank you all for your kindness every single week extending support and kindness to perfect strangers, that in time, become friends. As always, you inspire and encourage us. -Team SG


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