Does anyone know when we stopped showing kindness to others? I mean when was the last time you heard someone in a grocery store checkout lane be thankful to the clerk? Or even simply talking to the clerk? In my previous post, where I wrote about how my mental health issues started, I clichéd that we should never “Judge a Book by Its Cover”. I mention this again because it is oh so true. Let me explain using the grocery store clerk as an example.
Working in the service industry is a thankless job, trust me, I worked at a grocery store for several years. Add to that a hidden mental health disease and that person ringing up your groceries is perhaps having a worse day than you. As the saying goes, a little kindness goes a long way, right? And I would add that a little kindness goes a long way towards fostering better mental health. And when someone is having a bad day, a kind word or two may help them to forget for a while their troubles. Believe me when I say this – I have become quite adept at hiding my true feelings. Just as the smile you see on my face, the same you receive from the lady in the checkout lane may also be fake.
A Challenge for the New Year
I want to challenge you in 2022. At least one time per week, try going above and beyond when interacting with someone whom you do not know personally. That means 52 times this year, you may just make someone’s day. Someone whom you do not know on a personal level will see the love that you have for life. The impact you have on that person will likely not be evident but trust me, it will make a lasting impression on someone who is hurting.
So what do I mean by “above and beyond”? Well, perhaps letting that person who seems impatient for some reason move to the front of the grocery store checkout lane. Only that person knows why they are impatient. Perhaps they are just impatient by nature however it could be they have a sick child at home and they are rushing to get home. Kindness is more contagious than any virus because you can show kindness without having direct contact with someone.
Or by giving the hotel clerk some slack when your room is not ready. Sure, you may have saved for months and months for this vacation. You may feel that your vacation is ruined or will be ruined. Or perhaps you have been cooped up in your home for months due to COVID-19 and now that you are finally getting away, your room is not ready. The best reaction is to keep that sigh to yourself and instead be gracious. Actions have meaning and most people are very good at reading our expressions. Just be thoughtful and kind and you may just end up in a better situation.
But probably the most effective way to show kindness is just to smile and ask them “How are you today?”. And when someone responds, listen to them intently. You just may pick up a clue to what they are dealing with at the moment. Again, never judge a book by its cover. You never know what the person across the counter from you is going through. They may live in an abusive relationship. Or they may come from a broken home. Spread kindness and love just once per week and let’s see how much impact you can have on someone’s life in 2022.
Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. - 1 Corthians 13:4-7
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If you or someone you know may be contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or by dialing 988. You may also text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. In emergencies, call 911, or seek care from a local hospital or mental health provider.