by Cara Lumen
Her co-worker had just separated from his wife. She went with him to the doctor and then offered her home for his recuperation because he had no place else to go. Her husband went with that co-worker when he had his surgery and spent the night at the hospital with him so he would have an advocate there. Those are not random acts of kindness that’s purposeful kindness, the kindness I find myself surrounded with here in the mid-west.
At the store I was looking at a 40 pound box of cat litter wondering how to get it in my cart when a young woman stopped to help me. I hadn’t asked. She just saw my need and addressed it. At the grocery store I asked the Sara Lee delivery man for a product that turned out his company didn’t make. He even went over to the racks to help me look. It wasn’t there. So I just continued down the next aisle. A few minutes later there he was with two varieties of the product in his hand. I was totally touched by his kindness and we semi-hugged. I think he was touched by my being touched. A young man in my building helped me get my laundry up the stairs. And my niece who unexpectedly helped me find a government building I was having a hard time locating and it took a lot of pressure off of me. I have never before been so surrounded with purposeful acts of kindness – organic acts of kindness.
It has made me stop to see how I measure up in thoughtfulness. I may no longer be able to step in and lift something, or tall enough to reach a high shelf for someone, but there are other things. I can write these posts and hope they inspire someosne. I can write thoughtful comments and acknowledgements to people I interact with. I did recently rescue a mother cat and four black kittens that someone left in a box on the second floor landing outside of my apartment. I was new in town and had to go find the humane society to help them be safe. Sometimes it may be as small a kindness as a cheery word on a gloomy day, or a sincere thank you to the checkout clerk.
I have added something new to my coaching sessions. I have always asked, at the end of my classes and my coaching sessions, what the participants are taking away with them. It’s a good way to help them realize what they have gained and for me to see what was meaningful for them. But recently, I’ve been telling both the participants in my courses and my coaching clients what I’m taking away from our time together and it often ends up with an acknowledgement of the progress the client made, or the collaboration the class shared, or how they have touched my heart. It feels good for both the receiver and especially for me, the giver.
How can you increase your purposeful acts of kindness? One thoughtful act a day. Or two? Kindness is definitely contagious.
I’ve caught the kindness feeling. I’m more aware of what I can do for others. It’s my turn to see how thoughtful I can be. They say you are like who you hang out with and I’m hanging out with some really great people. Purposeful act of kindness, here I come!
© 2010 Cara Lumen