Driving home from work today I had a realization about kindness.
At a heavy merge zone the man I let in front of me rolled down his window and waved a thank you to me; and I thought to myself 'wow, that was really nice'. It made me smile and put me in a positive mood.
But it also got me thinking. Why was my reaction to a kind gesture 'wow'? Why was I surprised that a stranger did something nice? I know that this isn't the first time that I would categorize my reaction to someone doing something kind as 'a pleasant surprise'. This is probably an idealistic thing to say, but wouldn't it be nice if kindness didn't cause us to act surprised-- if kindness was the norm, almost expected of people?
Nick and I talk about this topic sometimes; especially when it comes to dealing with negative toxic people and atmospheres. I believe that we can choose how we react to and interact with people. If we choose to treat negative toxic people with a negative attitude we gain nothing. If we make the conscious decision to consistently treat negativity with kindness and a positive attitude, I believe that over time we can alter how people interact with us. Don't be fake and kill them with kindness; but treat them with respect and as an equal human being. Everyone has a background and history that plays into who they are as a person. We might be privileged to have a glimpse into their history and understand what makes that person tick; but more often that not, we just don't know. Have you ever been nasty to a really nice person? It's hard. And when it happens, most likely you feel some guilt afterwards.
In 2015 let's make it our goal to exude kindness. Let's add a bit of kindness to our day-- for us and for others. Let's help reverse the reaction of surprise when someone does something kind for us.
We all have good and bad days; but a smile, a wave, inclusion, genuinely asking someone how they're doing-- those things mean something.
With all the bad things we see day in and day out on the news, we don't want to add to it. Let's be a positive force in this world.
I challenge you to consciously and consistently treat people with kindness as you go about your day tomorrow. It will probably brighten your day :)