Being kind does not take much effort. Just a smile, a nod, helping another with their baggage or giving change to someone stuck at the cash counter. Every second of our lives we encounter moments where we can connect and help another human being.
These random acts of kindness have the potential to change another person’s perspective and ultimately his/her life trajectory. Moreover, kindness is good for our own health. Studies have shown that how these ordinary connections can boost our own well-being.
Kindness Saved Me
I can say with gratitude that today I am in a better place is because of the kind acts of the number of people who crossed my path. Living in an abusive home with an abusive father, and with a crooked back, there were so many times I felt like ending it all.
It was the kindness of my friend’s mother who always welcomed me into their home that gave me hope. She always made something for me to eat, which meant a lot to me then. When I mentioned this to my friend she could not believe that they had done something huge. But for me it was life-saving.
Are You Ok?
Sometimes all it takes to ease a person’s pain is just being there listening, putting an arm around their shoulder, or simply asking about their struggles. We all need to connect and be truly seen.
Suicide survivor Kevin Hines who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and survived states that, “One sentence could have stopped me”. He desperately wanted someone to say to him, “Are you OK? Is something wrong?” or “Can I help you?”
Further, he elaborates that had any one of the hundreds of passersby engaged with him, it would have given him permission to share his darkness, and would have given him a reason on that day to choose life.
We need to be mindful of every moment of our lives. There is no need to mindlessly push our own agenda and feel we are doing what is best for the suffering and needy. When we truly empathize with another person’s struggles we can gauge what he/she truly needs. Offering them enough support without them becoming life-long codependents.
The key is finding a balance. For ourselves and others.
First, we need to be aware of our own needs and feelings. It is important we stop, take deep breaths and be kind to ourselves. Only when we feel nurtured and full can you truly and joyously give.
We don’t need to work at a suicide helpline to save people. Random acts of kindness practiced with awareness and mindfulness can save a life.
Begin today, one kind act at a time.