Bad days… We all have them once in a while and for me, yesterday was one of them. I had to sort out a few unexpected tasks that came up and I was exhausted by the end of the day that I had even forgotten to eat. By around 4.00 PM, I managed to go to my favourite cafe Pret A Manger to grab a small bite to eat. I felt nauseous from exhaustion and so when I looked at all the food options, I felt a little overwhelmed and didn’t know what to choose.
I grabbed a sandwich and a bottle of water. It wasn’t too busy so I was glad to finally find a quiet cafe for me to relax in.
When I queued up to pay, I was greeted by a friendly barista called Tasha. As I grabbed my purse from my tote, she told me, ‘Don’t worry, it’s on the house.’
I thought I had misheard what she said but she repeated it one more time. I didn’t know why she was giving me stuff for free but I insisted that I paid for it. She said ‘Honestly, it’s fine. I’ve processed it now. It’s on the house.’ with a smile, she reassured me that it’s really okay to take the free food. I was so grateful for the kind gesture not just because of the free food and drink but because it made me feel cared for by a stranger. No matter how tired and defeated I was feeling yesterday, a simple act of kindness from a barista in Pret A Manger made me feel so much better.
From opening the door for someone to giving a homeless person food, drink or money, a simple act of kindness can really make a difference in someone’s life and life gives us plenty of opportunities to show it.
Simple acts of kindness are not insignificant, they can be life changing.
I watched Megyn Kelly interview Kevin Hines, the wonderful man who survived his jump from the Golden Gate bridge. Kevin Hines now works to spread the message of hope and shares his story to serve as an example and inspiration for many people who find themselves going through the same struggles he went through. In his interviews, he tells the story of how he recalls a significant moment when a random woman, a stranger, made eye contact with him just before he jumped off the bridge. He says that he thought that the woman was going to ask him if he was alright; desperately wishing that she would show him that someone at least cared, but instead, she asked him to take a picture of her and that moment made him realise that nobody cared at all.
Truth is, we are all going through something painful or upsetting in our lives. I don’t think that there is one person in the world who hasn’t suffered. Whether your problems are first world problems or not, we all have them. This is why we need to be more compassionate with ourselves and others. Simple acts of kindness can make someone feel like the world isn’t so bad after all and just when they find themselves about to give up on human kind, a simple act of kindness can save them from those thoughts and save their lives.
The world isn’t always fair but the world isn’t always unfair either.
Here are some ways you can show you care:
Take the time to listen
We all want to feel heard and understood. A lot of times, my friends and I will share our personal problems with each other and just talk on the phone for hours. We laugh about the funny things and we cry about the sad things. It’s nice to feel like someone understands and shares your thoughts, worries and pretty much anything. Call a friend and see how they’re doing and when they open up and tell you what’s going on with them, take the time to fully listen.
Make an effort to remember people’s birthdays or any other special events. Give someone a small gift or if you can’t afford to, a simple greeting and or a card would do. Send someone flowers to say ‘Thank You.’ Honour someone’s time and space. No matter how small your gifts are, it doesn’t matter. It’s the thought that counts.
Lend a helping hand
People are often so scared to ask others for help but many of us are more than happy to help others. Don’t wait for someone to ask you for your help. Try and look out for signs. Don’t force someone to accept your offer to help out but if they say yes, then fully commit to doing the best you can to be of assistance in any way. Help a new neighbour, do something for charity, offer to cook for someone if they’re unwell or help out a local shelter. There is a quote by Audrey Hepburn which says, ‘You have two hands, one to help yourself, one to help others.’ You will find that there are always ways to help others so do it if you can.
Be the first
Be the first to carry out a task if you have extra time instead of waiting for someone else to do it. Be the first to offer a seat when you’re in public transport. Be the first one to give hugs. Be the first one to greet and smile at a stranger. Be the first one to reach out. Be the first one to defend the oppressed. Be the first to volunteer if you can. Don’t wait around and see what other people are doing. Lead by example. Be the first to be kind and inspire others to the same. Be the first to notice the good things that people do and congratulate someone on their achievements.
Do the best that you can in any given moment and you will start to notice how you change as a person for the better. You will feel lighter as you begin to live a life full of good intentions.