On Saturday we experienced a random act of kindness.
Someone had baked some Christmas treats and they left a box of them outside our front door. We have not discovered who this Secret Santa is.
This kindness was completely unexpected and it’s had a profound effect on me. At first I wanted to find out who this person was, so that I could thank them properly. I started racking my brain to think who it was and who I’d done a kindness to. But all the people I asked said it wasn’t them. None of the had any idea who it could be. I would love to know who it is. But then I also see that not knowing makes it much more fun. The mystery is part of the kindness.
The treats were really delicious. They tasted like the person had used healthy natural ingredients, even though they were sweet. So you could say this was good food for the body.
It has also been good food for thought. When I think about it kindness is one of those things you can’t buy. It benefits the person you are kind to. And it also benefits you if you are being kind. But not in such a way that you should be kind so that it will benefit you. It’s the lack of ulterior motive that benefits you.
In our society we are so individualistic and materialistic that it’s very rare to see pure kindness like this. Whereas years ago when people lived in closer community, there was much more kindness to each other. As far as I know in rural communities people are still much kinder to each other.
I’m wondering how you and I can bring more kindness into the world. We could start off really small and smile at total strangers. We can certainly hold the door open for people. And they don’t have to old and decrepit for us to do this.
If we see someone who can’t afford their groceries, we could offer to pay if we can afford them. We can also use a kind tone of voice when dealing with a service provider, even if the service has gone wrong and we need to make a complaint. And if we are the service provider we can provide it in a kind way.
How can we be kind in our relationships?
Of course we should be kind to our own family members. That is what “Charity begins at home” means. Often people use that as an excuse not to give money to a charity that is not in their own country. But it is really about being as kind at home as we are when we are out and about.
Then we can listen to people more deeply and encourage them. And we can hold ourselves back when we went to give our unsolicited advice to them. We can ask them questions to show that we are interested.
The last paragraph describes what a coach does. But you don’t have to be a coach to listen more and give encouragement without giving unwanted advice.
Not only should we be kind to humans, but we also should be kind to animals. People sometimes take out their frustrations on their cat or dog, while being kind to humans. This indicates that they have some kind of hidden anger. If that’s the case they need to be kind to themselves.