Small kindnesses

by Jan on December 1, 2011

Busy city street

Never go to sleep without knowing that you have done something to create a better world.

Long before he was famous, Harry Belafonte’s mother said these words to him. These wise words came from her desire for him to contribute to our society. They became a guiding principle for his actions and have motivated him all of his life. He has practiced this every day–all in the cause of social justice.

But that seems a really tall order for most of us mortals. Just the idea of all that responsibility seems exhausting. Where do we start, and how do we find the time?

I got to thinking about such honorable actions and about what it takes to create a better world. I decided that it doesn’t mean we have to save the oceans or stop climate change. One of the small ways to change the world for instance is just smiling, saying hello and saying thank you.

That became clear one day as I rushed past someone to whom I would normally have stopped to acknowledge by talking about the weather or the latest baseball scores. I was too busy that day with my own thoughts to even notice where I was or who was nearby. I was not being the person I like to be.

He spoke right up and said, “Hey! I’m here! Talk to me!” Well that woke me up. I didn’t realize until that second how much my simple action of saying hello meant to him—and to me.

The question arises as to how many other times have I walked past people, not acknowledged them or not seen them for who they are? How many times have I forgotten to say thank you for small, kind gestures?  Even though I am genetically programmed to do those things, I still fail–and need to do better.

What I propose is the possibility of changing ourselves as a prerequisite to changing the world by doing something that has been recommended for thousands of years. It is so necessary that most of the greatest teachings are at their basis, about this. We all know what it is and yet it hard to do consistently. We still haven’t perfected it.

What is it?

  • It is living the golden rule: do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. It is a powerful force that ripples through the world.
  • And be grateful: say thank you as often as you can.

It costs nothing, takes little time and as we practice it –it does change the world around us—for the better.

In this season of miracles, it is a good time to start making a difference, feel good about our actions and most of all watch how those small acts of kindness can become a boomerang, returning kindness back to us.

It is the old law of giving and receiving—the more kindness we give the more we get back.

Right now all we have to do is to start by saying hello and thank you. It brings a little more hope into the world.

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

One comment

By writing this, you DID just make the world a little better! :)
Thank you!!

by Connie Wyatt on December 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm. #