It takes just seconds to make someone's day.
I’ve always believed myself to be a kind person. Empathetic. Sensitive. Someone who can sense when someone is bruised and hurting.
Recently, Medium superstars Jun Wu and Shannon Ashley launched a “kindness bomb,” urging writers in this community to stop bullying one another.
I wanted to contribute but unfortunately, was juggling too many balls to make the deadline. So, I’d like to piggyback on their “bomb” and expand the focus a bit, with the following thoughts.
It’s easy to believe that we have lost our humanity. Follow CNN by the hour and you’ll get what I mean. The news is bad, people. So. Fucking. Bad. Felons at the helm of our administration. Raging brush fires wiping out homes, people, animals. Ancient animosities that continue to ignite in warfare and the senseless death of innocents. Mass shootings.
To get lost in all this is to die a little bit each day. Each newscast is like a punch in the gut. But, we can fight back. Just by being kind to one another. By realizing that we’re all in this together. We all want to be happy. We all want to believe that we’re living a good and true life. So, why can’t we help each other achieve this?
It takes so little to lift someone's spirits.
When I’m in the supermarket and see another shopper who looks harried, or sad, or angry, I try to catch their eye. I smile. Even if I’m feeling like utter shit, myself.
I stop, in heavy traffic, to let drivers make left turns. I’m not in that big of a hurry. Sometimes they wave their thanks, other times, they don’t. But that’s okay.
When a cashier looks like they're dead on their feet, I make sure to take the time to thank them and sometimes, drop a compliment that leaves them beaming. How long does this take? Ten seconds? Five?
I’m not special. Anyone can do this. We hear a lot about “random acts of kindness.” Well, hell yeah. Let’s go!
Let’s help an elderly neighbor with chores like shopping or yard work.
Let’s allow someone with two items to get in front of us, in line.
Let’s pick up the phone instead of texting.
Let’s thank someone in the military, or law enforcement, or anyone who puts their lives on the line for others, for their service.
Let’s not walk by the homeless, as if they’re invisible. A couple of bucks. A cup of coffee. A sandwich. These are human beings. They hunger. They hurt. And, whatever their circumstances — deserve our respect.
At holiday time, let’s leave a note, along with a small token of our appreciation, for our mail carrier and the guy or gal who delivers our newspapers.
Let’s not take the knee-jerk reaction on social media when someone pisses us off, or we’re having a bad day. I did this recently, and feel like shit about. I’ve since apologized, which brings me to:
Let’s say “I’m sorry” And mean it.
Finally, let’s practice the very essence of kindness, which is the concern and consideration of others. And all living creatures.
Imagine the change we could effect if we all just took a few seconds out of our day to make someone else feel good. As a result, we feel good. How awesome is that?
The other day, I was in a department store checkout line and I was struck by the cashier’s genuinely sweet disposition. She radiated kindness and was radiant, in turn.
The woman smiled at each customer and took the time to say a few friendly words. When it was my turn, I couldn’t help myself: I told her that I loved the way she had made up her eyes and I swear — she positively twinkled. I left that store with a huge grin on my face.
Mahatma Gandhi was a guy who knew a little bit about the power of kindness. He said:
“The simplest acts of. kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.”
Amen to that.
© Sherry McGuinn, 2020. All Rights Reserved.
Sherry McGuinn is a slightly-twisted, longtime Chicago-area writer and award-winning screenwriter. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and numerous other publications. Sherry’s manager is currently pitching her newest screenplay, a drama with dark, comedic overtones and inspired by a true story.