The importance of kindness has been a common theme lately, probably since Covid. While kindness has always been important, I think it has become more so recently. There are signs of the focus on kindness everywhere. Examples are signs on restaurant doors, kindness written on t-shirts of servers in restaurants, and many other examples of this. I wonder, do we have a similar definition of kindness? Do most of us place the same priority on kindness as others? Important questions.
I googled “kindness,” and found this definition: “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” It was also stated that kindness is more than being nice. While I would not have thought of “friendly” and “kindness” as the same, I can understand the connection, and I do believe that being generous and considerate are examples of kindness. There are many other examples. Other words used to describe kindness are compassion, courtesy, concern, gentleness, goodness, gracious, helpfulness, loving, neighborly, patience, thoughtfulness, understanding, and unselfishness. There are many other words used for kindness also.
An exercise that is sometimes recommended for increased self-awareness is to fast forward to our eulogy. What would others say about us? While we still have time, we might choose to improve in areas where we think we need improvement. Kindness might be one of those.
Years ago, I needed improvement in the area of kindness. I was sometimes described as “intimidating.” I do not see “intimidating” on the list of kindness behaviors! I decided to improve in the areas that others saw as negative, and that gave the impression that I was intimidating. While I am sure that there are times that I revert to being intimidating, I do not think it is common behavior.
I have had several expressions of kindness given to me lately. One was just last night at a restaurant we go to fairly often, Sawmill Tap Room. I had ordered a salad and did not finish it, so I asked for a “to go” box. The waiter brought me some extra salad dressing and a “go” cup of iced tea. That is an example of kindness. He didn’t have to, but he had a giving spirit.
Also, a friend sent me a gift of a journal, lovely napkins, and a Starbucks gift card, with a sweet note, as appreciation for something I did for her. In all of the years that I have known her, she has always given a gift of appreciation for anything done for her. I wish I could say the same.
Another friend recently gave me a gift of my favorite tea, which is Harrods from London. This was not found in a local store. She had to take her time to order it, and have it shipped. Since tea is my drink of choice, and Harrods is my favorite, this was so much appreciated.
I felt like Cinderella recently when I was given a very special gift of a pair of shoes. Someone I have known for many years, who has become a friend recently, knew that I wanted those shoes, and that I had decided that they were not affordable for me at this time. She wrote me the sweetest note about how much she appreciated me throughout the years, and said, “with this gift, allow me to show my appreciation.” Wow! I was so touched by her act of generosity and kindness. I believe that this totally selfless gift is one of the best examples of kindness ever shown to me. I want to consider how I can pay it forward.
One way in which we can all show kindness to others is through tipping more than is considered “required.” While tipping may be controversial, it is a part of our American culture, and has become expected. Since staff in restaurants are often working without enough help, those of us benefiting from their service can show our appreciation by tipping more than we would otherwise. Yes, money is tight for many of us, but if we can afford to eat out, we should show some kindness to those who are serving us. How much more, you might ask? That is a personal decision. Just more.
All gifts of kindness are not tangible gifts. How we treat others is also how we show kindness. Or not.
Here are a few ways to show kindness. Let’s give others a pass, and not wear our feelings on our shoulders. Sometimes the kindest thing we can do is forget slights, manage our expectations, and appreciate others for who they are, ignoring when they disappoint us. This is hard for me, but that means it is something I need to work on.
Let me end this focus on kindness by thanking my readers for your support. I write what I think is needed, for me and others. I so appreciate others reading my musings.