This seems to be a good time of year to bring to the light the importance of giving and receiving kindness, without any expectation of receiving anything in return. I liken this to the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (or any similar variation of that phrase). I was taught this “rule” as a child, and it has stuck with me since. But now it has a much greater meaning to me as an adult.
As a child, it was sometimes difficult to imagine the benefits of being nice to someone if there was no guarantee that they would return the niceness. This was especially true when it came to some of the, shall we say, kindness-challenged kids in school. However, as an adult, I see and experience the value of kindness on a daily basis. When I am in a store’s check-out line, I usually make eye contact with the cashier and say hi with a smile, ask how they are doing, and really listen to their response. We may even have a little chat.
A Human Connection
This is not a task that I undertake – I really want to connect with them. I recognize that they are a human being who may not receive the kind of human interaction they would like to receive throughout their day at the register – especially at this time of year. And I am really present, interested and care about what they have to say. I don’t expect anything in return from them, but I often get something anyway. They’ll look up at me, with a slightly surprised expression on their face, perhaps not quite believing that a shopper cares about how they are doing. They often smile, and will sometimes even share something personal about themselves. I can tell you that this experience always feels much better to me than just going through the check-out line with my eyes averted, while I think about the next thing to do on my list.
Here’s another interesting example of the benefits of these “random acts of kindness”. As I’m sure you all have experienced, many drivers will do anything to make sure that their car is ahead of you on the road, regardless of how much traffic there is. How many times have you seen a car jump in line at the last minute, or exceed the speed limit in order to pass you, just to return to the lane in front of you, or speed up when they see that you either want to change lanes, or else want to enter the street from a parking lot, to make sure that you don’t end up in front of them?
However, I have noticed that if, for example, I wave to a car to let them get in get in line in front of me, the car behind me will often follow suit. It’s a really wonderful ripple effect. It’s contagious.
Every moment we have a choice to make about kindness. We can choose to remain disconnected and self-absorbed, or we can choose to reach out to our fellow human beings and let them know that we recognize that we are all connected in this Universe. We appreciate being on the receiving end of this, and we can be sure that others do, as well. A random act of kindness really isn’t random at all. It’s an act of love.
- 22 Random acts of kindness (blogs.windsorstar.com)