Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness

Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.

Scott Adams (1957)

When was the last time you experienced kindness? I mean the kind that touches your heart and elicits a blessing. When was the last time you were kind to someone? Kind in a way that would have set them thinking," Wow! Who does something like that anymore?!"
Truth be told, today if someone, especially a stranger, were to do something kind for me, I'd probably get suspicious unless I have always known that person to be kindhearted by nature. Isnt it sad? Please get off your high horse and stop nodding your disapproval of my suspicious nature. You know you would get suspicious too, if someone unexpectedly did something kind for you. You may be gracious, sure, but more likely than not the thought would cross your mind atleast briefly..about what the kind guy could possibly gain from being kind to you. Its just the times we live in!
Recently I was watching another heartwarming episode of 'Band Baajaa Bride', that lovely show on NDTV in which the wonderful designer Sabyasachi makes a vegetable vendor's daughter's dream wedding come true, designer trousseau, bridal outfit, designer clothes the groom and family members et al. I was so touched seeing the lucky girl's joy, I said to my better half, someday when we do really well and have lots of money to spare on my frivolous wishes, I'll send this lovely designer a bouquet just to appreciate his kindness. What would you have said to that? I got told that I am naive (tell me something I havent heard before!), that all these seemingly 'random acts of kindness' are pre-planned, scripted and played out to increase the show's TRPs. Tell you what, I cant wait for the day I'll send Sabyasachi that bouquet anyway! If doing so even out of naievity would make someone smile briefly and hold that happiness in his heart for a while, and maybe radiate that joy for just a while - affecting people in his immediate surroundings positively for just a while, I'll consider it worth the money I spend on that bouquet and the time spent arranging it. I like to let my imagination loose so I'll imagine him being nicer than usual to be around, making his staff happier too..maybe those people will take a bit of that happy feeling home..maybe it will rub off on the spouses of those people..maybe their kids will..Oh sorry, you're still there! You get my point though, dont you :-)

At the bearable risk of being called a fool, yesterday morning I decided to try and spread the word the only way I know currently - through writing. The world needs more kindness to make it a better place for our future generations. If I can get even ten people to CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE to do one kind deed a day atleast on the day that they have read this post, I will be a very, very happy person!

Most of us arent unkind people. Atleast nobody  I know is unkind, thankfully. But most of us are kind only when a situation arises in which we can practice kindness. How about if we CHOSE to go looking for opportunities to touch hearts and lives with random acts of kindness? What if we chose to do this everyday? Remember the lovely feeling you get whenever you have been kind to someone, particularly strangers, expecting nothing in return? Kindness is a reward in itself. 

It takes nothing, really. Offering your seat to someone else in a crowded bus. the classic 'help someone cross the road' (be careful with this one!). Helping clear the table after meals. Offering to babysit for free, yes, FREE! Something as simple as installing a birdbath for those poor little birds. Who said giving has always got to do something with money? Donating cash or kind is definitely not the only way to practice kindness. In fact, that is the most impersonal way that you could be kind to someone. Its not without its uses of course, but really, there are a million other ways to bring joy to a heart other than spending money.

A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.

By writing this, I hope to share with you my attempt to consciously choose to practice kindness, for atleast 21 days. It is said that when you do something for 21 consecutive days, it becomes a habit. So really, by the end of this little personal experiment, I hope to make it a habit to consciously look for opportunities to be kind, without expecting anything in return. I'd love to think that it will have a ripple effect and spread kindness. I hope to be able to report here everyday, atleast one act of kindness that I will have consciously chosen to do. If I fail to find even one such chance a day, I will shamefully start from square one again.
You must have also heard that the left hand should not know what the right one is doing, when it comes to charity and giving (Matthew 6:4). So then why am I being so pompous about my little project and blog/brag about what a kind person I am, how I made a positive difference to someone's day(/life, I dare say?). I can assure you, I have no intentions to run for President. My sole aim is to inspire atleast a handful of people to think about what they can do with this intention of spreading kindness. If I can get each person who reads this to think about it even for a few minutes and maybe decide to do one kind deed for today, I will be ecstatic.
I began my little project on 26th February 2013, wanting to see what effect it has after 21 days. Will I have formed a new habit of being consciously kind?
The first day of my practice, I decided to surprise my maid by washing the dishes instead of letting her come to a pile of dirty dishes lying in the kitchen sink because she didnt turn up to work the previous day. I think I did well, going by the expression on her face, which was a mix of surprise, relief and happiness! She probably walked in expecting to be told off for not showing up to work the previous day. She dosent talk much the day after she calls in sick but I am hoping my gesture made a positive impact that lasted long enough to rub off on atleast one other person in her immediate circle.
Yesterday morning I remembered my intention to find ways to practice kindness. Grabbing the first chance I got, I made a mad rush to the door to catch the lady who collects garbage for disposal from our building, just before she left the floor. I handed her a packet containing a brand new saree that I had intended to give someone else, but changed my mind. It wasnt a very expensive one at all, barely worth the grateful smile and the pleasant disbelief in the eyes of the woman who accepted it graciously. I'd like to think she kept that happiness within her glowing long enough to let others feel she is nicer to be around, atleast for the day!
Today is Day 3. I wonder what I can do. And I wonder whether you will try doing something nice for someone too, preferably for a stranger who cannot give you anything in return. Just so that its clear on both sides that your gesture is selfless and that the world is still a wonderful place if you want it to be!
Love, light  grace to you :-)
Go spread the word!

I'd love to know more about the chances you got to spread kindness and made the most of!

Liked this? You may like Starting something is never difficult, Its difficult to continue doing something!