Happy Wednesday, everyone! November 13th is World Kindness Day, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect on the ways we can add a little kindness to our lives. Personally, I’ll never forget the time my credit card didn’t work at an airport, while I was trying to buy food. It was my first meal of a very long day, and the sandwich I ordered had already been made. I was just about to walk away, crestfallen, when a guy nearby who’d witnessed what happened offered to pay. I declined initially, but he insisted, and I was so overcome with gratitude I almost cried. This person could have just watched me leave. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own routines and problems and forget to reach out.
It got me thinking about the different ways I practice kindness in my life. I have to admit, I don’t practice as many Random Acts of Kindness as I would like — but I think we can first start by thinking in terms of our families and communities.
I love journaling (I’ve written other posts that involve journaling questions) so I thought I would journal about kindness. If you already have a journal, I invite you to do this one with me. And if you don’t — grab a piece of paper and give it a try, you might be surprised at what you discover! I usually like to put a timer for each question — about two to three minutes each — but you can also take as much time as you want.
Here are the questions:
Who in your life comes to mind when you think of kindness?
What kind acts have been done for you? Why did you appreciate these gestures so much?
With all this in mind — what small acts of kindness can you add to your day-to-day life?
There are two people in my life who come to mind when I think about kindness: my grandpapa and my boyfriend.
Grandpapa comes from a small town, and he’s the type of person who, if he sees someone’s car is broken down, he’ll stop and try to help. I hear one story in particular a lot. He was at a car repair shop and overheard a family speaking French: their car needed work, it was going to take a few days, and they had nowhere to stay in town. Grandpapa approached them, listened and tried to find a way to help. He then invited them camping in his RV, which ended up being the best part of the family’s road trip. They even kept in touch with my grandpapa afterwards, and stayed friends for years to come.
My boyfriend has also taught me a lot about kindness.
As a side note, he’s Colombian, and while I lived in Colombia I noticed that people in general are always looking for ways to help others. If a person in my community was in need, someone would always rally us together to collect money. I also remember how the men on my work team went out of their way to celebrate International Women’s Day — got us gifts, and decorated the office to show appreciation for us.
My boyfriend is no exception to this — if he can do something for you he will. He once gave the doorman of his apartment building about 200$ because his mother was sick, to help pay for any medical costs. It would be easy to say that his doorman was a stranger, to transfer responsibility onto someone else, but my boyfriend had formed a connection with doorman from always stopping to say hello when he walked our dog in the morning.
When it comes to his family, my boyfriend will typically go above and beyond on birthdays and Christmases. He’s the kind of person who puts together the most personal, thoughtful gift. The first of my birthdays we celebrated together as a couple, he compiled all of my poems and printed a book for me— decorated his entire apartment, balloons on the ceiling, roses in my favourite colour, and different surprises throughout the day. But there’s also just his everyday kindness. One morning, after a particularly rough week, I woke up to a note accompanied by my favourite candy that said: “ Saw you were a little sad yesterday, so here’s something to cheer you up.”
In terms of kindness that has been done for me, I can think of so many— but one in particular comes to mind. I had a friend who, after my mom died, put me in his calendar to remind him to check-in periodically. He said it was because he promised my mom he’d always look after me. It was an important gesture because it made me feel less alone, and it was also an extension of my mother’s love.
So, how can I make kindness a part of my everyday life? Maybe it can be as simple as stopping to ask people I see regularly how they are, and really listening to their answer. Maybe it’s as simple as greeting a check-out lady at the grocery store by name. Maybe it’s remembering the birthday of a coworker, leaving a little note and treat. Maybe it’s collecting information on the ones we love — favourite flowers, favourite movies, favourite artists, favourite ice creams — then finding ways to surprise them. Maybe it’s taking it upon ourselves to help those in need.
From what I’ve witnessed, kindness is transformative. It has the power to turn suffering to gratitude and fear to strength. Kindness makes us all feel a little less alone, and a little more hopeful for the future.
What insight do you have from journaling? I invite you to share in the comments below!
Don’t forget to pin to Pinterest if you want to try this out at a later time.