Kindness Challenge|Week 7: Grateful For Kindness

Person feeling gratitude looking at the sunrise with extended armsBeing “Grateful for Kindness” was the topic for Week 7 of the Kindness Challenge. 

And who isn’t grateful when someone shows us goodwill?

It could be another driver giving us the right of way at a four-way intersection. Or, the person with the overflowing shopping cart who lets us go ahead when they see we only have a loaf of bread. 

These are the small kindnesses that make us feel good for a few seconds and then are forgotten, lost in the business of our day.

Then there are the big kindnesses we witness in the world: selfless people who undergo surgery to give organs and the chance for life to others. And those courageous folks who risk their own lives and health to help citizens living in war zones and abject poverty.  

Often we’ll hear about these acts of kindness in news reports and online. However, I suspect there are a lot more we don’t ever hear about because bad news attracts more attention than good news. Tragedies, crime, and the worst of humanity sell more papers and get more follows.


I believe that gratitude is a learned attribute. Most people master the art of please and thank you early in life. But, many others simply don’t appreciate the kindnesses they’re shown. Often times they seem to expect the generosity of others.

The qualities of a good person are discussed in this recent New York Times opinion piece. Tiny white shell on sand with the quote I was quite touched by the story. One of those conditions is performing acts of good will without expecting anything in return (which happened to be the challenge for week #6.) 

Another one is respect for others, regardless of their title or position. I believe kindness and respect are symbiotic; if you feel one, you feel the other. 

We should always express our gratitude to people who show us kindness. When a driver stops and lets me cross the roadway, I nod and wave. When a family member goes out of their way to help me, I thank them.

And I’m grateful when that driver waves back or when the relative smiles with satisfaction knowing their good deed is appreciated.

These small gestures remind us of our humanity and mutual respect. If we want to make the world a better place we can’t take these things for granted. 

To do so would spell the end of civility and we’re already seeing too much of that now. If we’re truly grateful for kindness

If we’re truly grateful for the kindness we have an obligation to demonstrate our appreciation by paying it forward!


 

 

 

 

Week 7: Grateful for Kindness

Half Empty, Half Full

water_spilling

“Are you happy?”

It’s not a question that someone recently asked me, but rather the one I ask myself on a regular basis. 

When I’m working uninterrupted at my computer, I’m happy. When I’m sharing a delicious meal with loved ones, or receiving good news, I’m happy. There are obviously people and circumstances that evoke happiness within us.  

In contrast, there are people and circumstances who induce anything but happiness.  

So, emotions are transient; they change with any given day and situation. 

However, I’m talking about the overarching view of our experiences; a more existential perspective like “What is the meaning of life?” Or, more specifically, “Does my life have meaning?”

Like everyone else, I’ve faced challenges along the way. Some people have endured far more than me, and others not nearly as much: 

  • Two decades in a toxic marriage, but I did get out.
  • Always yearning for the college degree that I gave up, and finally graduating in 2013.
  • Putting my ailing father in a nursing home, where he lasted nine months.
  • Mustering the courage to leave the familiar to pursue something better, only to  realize the value of familiar, while redefining better.

Thinking back over these difficulties, I will say that the outcomes were positive. Or were they?

Some people might focus on all the lost years and missed opportunities, which culminated in my current situation. I’m no longer gainfully employed, have no assets, and are attempting a new beginning.

What I do have is my health, people who care about me, and the belief that good things eventually come to those who wait, work, and believe.

If we obsess about the level of the water instead of celebrating the glass, we lose the ability to recognize happiness in any amount.

So, maybe happiness is really just perspective. After all, there will always be bumps in the road. But, how we view those bumps and navigate that road ultimately determines our destination. 

 

Discover Challenge: Tough Questions