Definition of Kindness

Just when you start to despair, a ray of hope shines through with simple stories of random acts of kindness.  I opened Facebook this evening and the first two posts I read were from people I knew who had experienced random acts of kindness from a stranger today.  How uplifting to know that there are still those in our midst whose first thought is to do good for others.

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I read recently a suggestion from someone that if you make an effort to perform an act of kindness for someone every day, just something small and random, then by the end of the year you will have brought a smile to 365 people.  Speaking of a smile brings to mind the lines of a poem attributed to Spike Milligan.

“Smiling is infectious. You catch it like the flu.

When someone smiled at me today I started to smile too.

I walked around the corner and someone saw me grin.

When he smiled I realised I had passed it on to him.

I thought about the smile and then realised its worth.

A single smile like mine could travel round the earth.

So if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected.

Start an epidemic and get the world infected.” 

That doesn’t mean we should all go around every day grinning like Cheshire cats but we can make the effort to smile at those we interact with.  Think of the dozens of people you interact with every day, your bus driver, the barista in the coffee shop, the guy behind the counter selling newspapers and bottled water, the receptionist in the office or the security guard on the door, your co-workers or your bosses.  It could be the girl who serves you lunch or the tired retail worker who checks out your purchases for dinner on the way home.  Think how much better you will feel if you greet them all with a smile.  Think of the knock-on effect on those you meet, for when you smile at them, they more than likely will smile back and be more inclined to pass on that smile to the next person they meet.

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So, today I have decided that in future I will make an effort to be more pleasant in my interaction with others, to be friendly and considerate in everything I do.  I think that effort will be rewarded with a more positive outlook for me and the knowledge that I may just have made someone smile and brought a little light into their day.

‘Be yourself, everyone else is taken.’ Oscar Wilde

This quote, usually attributed to Oscar Wilde, always springs up on those sites promoting health and well-being.  It is tagged as a funny quote, inspirational, clever.  To me, it conjures up somewhat disturbing images, of a figure running around frantically searching for an elusive figure known as true self.  I always thought that the truth is, we all have several personas that are all our true self.  As women, our first role is of daughter, which then expands to include sister, friend, maybe wife, maybe partner, hopefully mother, aunt, and grandmother.  Each role requires both different and similar attributes from us.  The trick is to be the best person you can be in whatever role you are fulfilling, however difficult that may be.

Where some people fall down, is in trying to be something they are not.  That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have ambitions, that you shouldn’t strive to improve your way of life.  It just means that you should bring your true self with you on that journey.  To do otherwise is to bring unnecessary hardship into your life, and who needs that?  Life is difficult enough without making it more stressful by refusing to acknowledge who you are, where you are from and who you have become.

For we all change in this journey through life.  Each experience, painful or joyful, brings something into our hearts and helps form the person we become.  We can choose to roll with the punches so to speak.  We can hold out a helping hand to those who struggle.  We can decide to be the best version of ourselves.  But above all, we should strive to be the best version of ourselves that it is possible to be.

A Simple Act of Kindness

Acts of kindness towards ourselves, or those we care for, stick with us in our memories forever.

I was at a function last weekend, a surprise birthday party for a friend, and I saw a woman there who had no idea who I was.  But I remembered her.  I remembered how her simple act of kindness towards someone I cared for, made a huge difference to me, and the memory of her kindness so many years ago stayed with me to this day.

Many years ago, my uncle ended up in hospital, in a coma from which he would never recover.  The medical experts advised that we should talk to him, that he could hear what was going on around him.  It was difficult, extremely difficult for his family and friends, but everyone did their best.

He had been there, in that comatose state, for a few weeks, when I had to make a trip to the Hospital Emergency Dept to collect my other half.  Nothing major, a cut that needed stitching and a tetanus shot but he wasn’t ready when I arrived, so I decided to visit my uncle.  It was around 11pm at night and I slipped into the main hospital and upstairs to the side room off the main ward.   From the ward corridor, I could see through the glass door directly into where he lay.  I could see the nurse’s aid preparing him for the night.  She had finished washing him and was tucking the blankets in around him.  She brushed his hair, all the time talking to him with a tenderness that stopped me in my tracks.  She was gentle and kind and most of all respectful.  Her name was Bernie, (is Bernie and she still works there) and she treated him with such respect even though she didn’t know him, didn’t know anything about him and I was touched by her kindness.  That simple act of kindness turned what was, for me, a very sad time, into a memory which triggers a smile.  It is a memory that will live with me forever.

Maybe we should all try to perform just one little act of kindness every day towards our fellow human beings.  Imagine the difference it would make in all our lives.  Being on the receiving end of that little act of kindness is tremendous, imagine what it must be like to be on the giving side.  To have that kind nature, to give of yourself with no thought of reward.  Today and every day, let’s try and perform just one little act of kindness and leave someone with a lovely memory.