This morning I had a very inspiring chat with my fabulous friend and fellow writer, the amazing Lita. Some weeks ago she opened a group on kindness on FB – people share ideas and encourage each other by sharing stories.
We get quite creative in that group, from sending X-mas cards with a 5 Euro or 5 pound note in it to a random address – to smiling at strangers or a bit of small-talk with a shopkeeper or someone who is obviously lonely and has not many people to talk to.
As a result, not only do we give, being kind makes us feel good. It’s warming our souls and our hearts. And we never know how it affects the other person, be it a stranger or not.
Which reminds me of a story – and I’ve decided to share it with you. In Spring 2005 I found myself – through a sudden re-structuring of our office, I was a financial consultant working quasi freelance – without clients and a job. I had four weeks to clear my desk, I knew this was written in our contracts, but it had obviously not happened that often, so it came as a shock. The same company had another office in town, which was very successful, and I knew the director from his start as consultant, ages ago.
I called him, we talked, and two days later he offered me a freelance job in his office, not as consultant, not many hours, but a start, so I could pay my rent. I felt at home, the co-workers were very welcoming – and I felt successful.
One day in summer, I was doing the bills and because I felt like it, I added a card to his monthly bill to say: thank you, thank you for being here so I could turn the lemons, life gave me, into lemonade.
Two hours later he knocked, tears in his eyes, and told me that he was deeply touched. It was his 15-year-anniversary in the company on that day (I had no idea) – and nobody had bothered to tell him, that he was doing a great job.
I’ve never forgotten that day – and I think we often underestimate what a small gesture can do for somebody.
Kindness comes in many forms – to open a door for someone, to let them pass in the car, to smile, to look in the face of a homeless person when you give them money. I noticed how they light up – because they feel seen, too.
Being kind also means, being kind to ourselves. Rest when we need to, say no, put up healthy boundaries, meditate, dance, sing, listen to our body….There are many ways, find yours. Give yourself permission to be kind.