"Every kindness I received, small or big, convinced me that there could never be enough of it in the world. Kindness can change the lives of people." --Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Daw Aung San Sun Kyi, a Burmese pro-Democracy leader who spent nearly 15 years under house arrest as a political prisoner (with thanks to my friend Jonathan for the quote....)
I wasn't planning to talk about kindness today, but my friend Fiona has a new edition of her book, "Small Kindnesses" coming out today (and a FREE download on Amazon.com today only!) and I want to support that. Plus, as we move into the holiday season with all of its hustle and bustle, it is easy to forget to be kind.
Some of the greatest kindnesses that have been shown to me in my life have been the small ones.
Last night my husband walked the dog for me when I was exhausted and couldn't imagine doing one more thing. It was such a gift that at that moment I would not have exchanged this small kindness for all the jewelry in the world.
The other day a friend sent me a copy of his most recent "news" letter in an envelope which was beautifully addressed using various inks and alphabets. It was such a joy to receive, even before I read the words he had written.
I think we all need a lot more of this kind of kindness in the world right now.
Just going out into the world during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas can feel uncomfortable because of all the tension in the air. All of us running around with the lists in our heads of all we need to DO and BUY and BAKE and WRAP before the "big day." Small kindnesses during this time can make a big difference.
Let someone who is in a hurry go first in line at the grocery store. Be patient with the sales clerk who doesn't know how to sell a gift card. Don't honk at the person who cuts you off on the freeway. Instead offer them a friendly wave that says, "It's okay, we all make mistakes."
Forgive someone who has hurt you without a confrontation or apology. Lower your expectations of those around you. Take the time to notice what is going right and speak it aloud. Heart-felt words of gratitude feel like an exquisite kindness in the face of SO MUCH TO DO!
Don't forget to offer small kindnesses to yourself as well. A deep breath. A nap. A walk. An hour in a tub of hot salt water does wonders this time of year.
Knock one or two things off of your "to do" list. Appreciate yourself for what you are doing. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. Let yourself be free.
Small kindnesses can make such a difference in our world. They can change lives. Maybe even yours.