One of the themes of the 8 week mindfulness course I teach is kindness, practicing being kind to ourselves and being kind to others. The impact of being kind to others can be quite transforming for our own personal well-being. When we are selflessly kind to others, not only do we benefit the person we are showing kindness to, we also benefit ourselves as we feel an inner glow and a sense of worthiness.
This morning I experienced that glow of warmth that helping out a stranger can bring. As I was paying for my car parking at Chorley hospital, the lady behind me was £2 short for her payment and the machine didn’t take cards. As I still had two £1 coins in my purse and empathised with having been in this position many times – who hasn’t? – I gladly passed them to her; it wasn’t really something I had to think consciously about. Particularly at a hospital we should all be excessively kind to one another. What I found a little sad was just how surprised this lovely lady was. Sadly in the busy world we live in we do not expect to experience kindness from strangers. Having paid for her car park, the lady hurried over to my car and insisted on gifting me a beautiful, jewelled handbag hook that she had in her bag. My instinct was to refuse but I realised that to not have accepted it would have been unkind; she really wanted to reciprocate my act. This lovely lady and I had a genuine, heart warming connections in the car park, I drove home smiling, despite the rain and I have a feeling that she too travelled home feeling like the world was a slightly friendlier place. If she ever reads this I would like to thank her for her lovely kind gift.
There isn’t enough kindness in the world and the tragedy of this is that, as I have shown above, when we are kind we feel better about ourselves, the warm glow comes from a release of hormones endorphin and oxytocin – often known as the love hormone. The person we are kind to also feels lifted and often that will result in them passing on that kindness, doing something thoughtful for yet another human being. Try it out, be excessively kind today and see what the outcome is.