“All your words and actions define the world you want to live in.” “Don’t do things you wouldn’t want to have done to you.”
Even though this column is called secrets to life, most of what I write is not a secret. Many of these thoughts are common observations that I share with you so we can experience knowledge that happens in our everyday life. I believe knowledge is everywhere and can be missed because of our attention. One such observation happened a few months ago.
I remember the day distinctly. I was standing a few yards near the door inside a restaurant waiting for my take out lunch. Nearby, sitting at a table closer to the door, was a young man also seemingly waiting for a meal. The restaurant door opened and another man came in briskly. He walked to the counter at the back, retrieved his order, turned and approached the door on his way out. His hands were filled. In one was his meal and in the other a cold soda. Noticing this, I stepped to open the door for him, but the young man sitting near the door got up and beat me to it.
As he opened the door and the man walked out, a gust of wind blew into the restaurant bringing with it a fifty dollar bill which lay at my feet. Reaching down I retrieved the bill. It was sandy and slightly damp, it had rained the last few days and this bill appeared to have weathered outside the whole time. Both the young man and I stared at each other in wonderment and surprise. The bill had blown in from nowhere. After some deliberation and consideration we decided that this bill was a collaborate find.
We exchanged pleasantries, laughed at the situation and decided to share the bill fifty, fifty. He had opened the door allowing the bill to find its way to my feet and I had seen the note first and picked it up. He had done an act of kindness opening the door and I had thought and attempted to do and act of kindness.
Ok, granted this is an unusual situation, kindness does not always reward monetarily, but the point I am making is that you never know what a little kindness can bring. At the right moment a kind word or gesture can brighten up your day. It can be spontaneous and in fact, can be random. We are nourished by kind words and gracious behavior. We are always rewarded when we make the lives of others more enjoyable by something as simple as a smile and a wave of acknowledgment, a helpful gesture, an offer of assistance, offering a “thank you” or an “excuse me,” or other such simple courtesies.
It is said by many, “What goes around comes around”. Did you know that an act of kindness not only makes you and the receiver feel good, but it also affects the observer of the kindness? Goodness releases endorphins in the brain like laughter and promotes a healthy feeling of well-being.
Listening to many visitors that come to San Pedro their lasting comments about the island is the friendly nature of the people. They say in all their travels they find this place to be one of the friendliest. If every day, we take some time to do even little things, then each new day we can live a richer, kinder life.
Don’t wait for people to be friendly, show them how. Below are some characteristics of kindness in our lives:
Kindness feels good. Being kind to someone else feels good on the inside. It releases endorphins, and promotes health. Making another person smile affects more than just the two of you it touches others around too.
Kindheartedness shows through beliefs. Whether we are Christian, catholic, Jewish, Mormon or Buddhist, Humanitarian, kindness is an important part of the exhortations of all these beliefs. Both Buddha and Christ were kind and encouraged their followers to be likewise. In all religion and spirituality the “Golden Rule” is the most common denominator.
Tenderness expands your awareness. Extending goodness to others takes us outside ourselves and gives us the capacity to empathize with humanity on a whole. Paying attention to what is around us we open to new ways of looking at life, creating growth and evolution. We alter our perspective through the awareness of others.
Kindness is compassion in action. When we observe good deeds and others being kind we become more compassionate and tolerant. It also strengthens our beliefs in the possibilities of a peaceful world. Kindness opens our hearts to practice goodwill to all we encounter.
Consideration displays respect and draws us together. We show our respect for all humanity when we display kindness. It brings us to the understanding of the sameness we all are. We are all interconnected as an evolving race, goodness to each other enhance respect for all of life.
Kindness is very attractive. People appreciate kindness. Even if you are right in any situation, people remember your kindness and will respect and appreciate it. Kindness will make people love being around you. Kindness is the display of unconditional love that sustains us when we make mistakes in life.
Finally kindness shows respect to others because we all are human beings and we all love to be treated in a kind way. You won’t lose anything when you are kind to people and you never know how it will pay off.