Kindness Matters

About a week ago, I received my weekly email from a health and fitness blogger that I follow.  In her post, she was discussing the importance of kindness, centering her post around a friend’s Instagram caption, quoted below:

“Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is this idea that our feelings// emotional state does not need to guide our actions. Being kind is an action — it’s not a feeling… you don’t typically “feel kindness” until after some sort of action done for another or even for yourself. It’s so easy to allow our feelings to dictate our actions. It’s easy to be kind to others when we feel happy. It’s easy to be mean to others when we feel angry or hurt. It’s easy to say “I love you” to someone when they’ve just done something nice for you. I want to focus on kindness every day + in every season — whether I am happy, sad, frustrated, hurt, peaceful, excited — I always want to be kind. Our actions define us — who we are in this moment + how we will be remembered. “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle + the light of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness [Kindness!] never decreases from being shared.”— Buddha”

I’ll link the whole blog post below, but I think this excerpt alone is so powerful.  I knew I wanted to expand on these thoughts, but was just waiting for the right time to share…

Flash forward to this evening: I’m eating dinner with one of my best friends, and she is telling me this story about a girl in her class that she had just introduced me to last week.  The girl, a new student to campus from far away, had just accepted a campus tour guide position, and was very nervous while leading her first tour group.  She told my friend that in the midst of speaking to her group, right at the point where she felt most nervous, I walked past, and smiled and waved at her.  This girl could not stress enough to my friend how much of a confidence boost that I gave her in that moment.

I’m sharing this story not to pat myself on the back, but rather, to share what I believe to be the craziest part of the story: I don’t remember doing this.  At all.

If there’s anything I’ve learned this semester, it is that time is truly the most precious gift, and so often, especially in the weeks leading up to the holidays, random acts of kindness and/or service can seem too overwhelming, or just another thing on the to-do list.  But acting on kindness does not have to always be on a large scale; while kindness should be practiced on all levels, both big and small, sometimes, it is the little things that have the greatest impact on others.

This story really brought me back full-circle with the blog post I read last week.  There are always going to be days when we feel too stressed, too tired, too overwhelmed to do anything else on our to-do lists. Let’s challenge ourselves to not think of kindness as a chore, and to act anyways.  It can be as small as donating $1 to the Salvation Army bucket outside the grocery store, calling a family member you have not talked to in awhile, or even just saying hello to someone in passing. Whether it is a cognizant decision or not, how beautiful is it that we all have the ability to lift others up through simple gestures?

Sometimes, we all need a little encouragement to get through the hour, or day, or week, and I bet at some point, others need it too.  Let’s make it a goal to remember to act with a little compassion, even when our feelings tell us otherwise.

CHAARG Kindness Blog Post:

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