This has been discussed so many times….but I wanted to throw in my little bit. Logically, we all know that being truly kind does not require large effort or a big fan-fare. We all know that kindness comes in little bits. But I had a perfect kindness experience that I wanted to share.
When I leave for work in the morning, I have to turn left onto a busy street with a reasonable amount of traffic without the aid of a stop sign or street light. If I leave at the right time of the morning, I can miss the onslaught of traffic without any problem……but this is a very rare occurrence. Most often I wait for several minutes and take a few chances to cross the road. Earlier this past week, I got to the end of my driveway and saw the lines of traffic both ways. After about a minute of waiting, there was a break in the traffic from my left….even though there was no end to the traffic from my right. But the driver of one car from my right stopped calmly, and waited for me to cross. There were easily 20 cars backed up behind him….but he did it anyway. I crossed quickly and off we all went.
This was a very simple little act that took up all of 30 seconds in our lives. All of those cars were going to have to wait for the nearby traffic light anyhow….so it didn’t slow them up any. This small moment made my whole day! No one asked this driver to stop; I did not honk or yell for a space. I drove the rest of my 15 minute commute with a smile. In fact….I was so calm and happy that when a car cut me off short a little while later, I just slowed carefully and did my best to make it easy for the driver to get in the lane…..no honking or yelling or even feeling upset.
We often don’t consider how our actions, regardless of how small, will affect another person. We also don’t often think of what else has happened to someone to put them in a foul mood. Good moods and bad moods spread like wildfire…..with very little fuel. That same driver that let me into traffic passed along a good mood that lasted all day for me and made me more pleasant to deal with. Just as easily, I could have moved into traffic when there was a bit of a natural space, been honked at, and spent the rest of the day snippy at others.
This same day, a friend of mine was at a college to register for a class. The woman at the admissions office was unhappy, and a bit rude. Her bad mood led to this friend coming home feeling unhelped with the class registration, and frustrated with the process; and thus less able to focus on the things needing to be done at home. Again....the mood is perpetuated. This woman did not realize how her mood and actions would affect the life of another person, and this friend of mine did not stop to think about what could have put the woman out of sorts. They chalked the encounter up to being an unhappy person at work and a rude guy that came into the office. A opportunity to change a life was missed.
Being a truly kind person does not take much. It takes a short consideration of the other persons position. What may have happened to this person that he/she is unhappy or frustrated? How can I avoid contribution? What would I like for someone to do for me if I were in the other position? And then do those things…… No asking or questions; just do something.