I had the pleasure of attending the Best Buddies Gala this past weekend. I spend most of my days dressed in “athleisure” wear, so putting on a sparkly gown and heels isn’t the norm for me. When I walked into the Grappone Center I was in awe of the gorgeous decorations, perfectly set tables, sparkly lights and glittery suspended balloons. It was magical.
In the midst of snapping pics of people I was there to support, people I haven’t seen in a while and new friends, I was photo-bombed by one of the attendees. He jumped into a selfie I was taking. It made me laugh and we exchanged a few words. He didn’t know me, and I didn’t know him, but somehow our swapping of hellos and smiles made my entire night. When I looked back at that photo it was my absolute favorite one of the night. It reminded me that sometimes a few kind words and a smile are enough.
Now that the holiday season is in full swing, it is important to recognize that holidays don’t mean the same for everyone. Although your inbox may be flooded with special deals, stores filled with holiday displays and your calendar may be booked with numerous obligations, there are others who may have a very different experience. They may not own a computer, possibly unable to go shopping and will not be receiving any invitations. This time of the year may not be filled with family and friends and celebration.
To be mindful of what other people may be going through, there is one thing that everyone can do – be kind. This is gender neutral, non-denominational and not age specific. Kindness is a basic human thing that everyone can do. The best part about kindness is that it is FREE.
I know that some people may want to give to the less fortunate but are financially unable to do, so but can give their time. There are also people unable to give their time but can donate financial resources. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, we can all be nice to each other.
Here is a list of things you can do that don’t cost anything:
1. Smile at everyone – even strangers
2. Just listen – then pause before you speak
3. Hug someone – (you may want to ask permission for this one first)
4. Invite someone new into your tribe – this person could be the missing piece
5. Mail a card to someone who is not expecting it – everyone loves getting mail that’s not a bill
6. Hold open the door for the person behind you – and possibly the person behind them
7. Let someone into your lane while driving (I struggle with this one)
8. Donate your time – help your grandma clean out her closet
9. Use your manners – please and thank you go a long way
10. Give up your seat – even if you came early to get a good seat
I asked a friend of mine who is also on a perpetual mission of spreading kindness to share her thoughts.
“Being kind starts from the inside and then leaks out to others. It is important to recognize that kindness starts with us, our own inner kindness to ourselves! Check in and notice the words you speak to yourselves, the thoughts you have about YOU, how you treat yourselves. I encourage soft words, positive thoughts and choices that fuel your inner kindness. It is then when we unconsciously will show kindness to others, because it is a state of being, not a choice.” – Tina Poirier, ERYT 200