I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers…and my friends

26 Aug

Kindness shown to me is very overwhelming. I am always touched when someone goes out of their way to show me kindness and that they care. I think it comes from my childhood – there wasn’t a lot of kindness shown to me by my schoolmates and my siblings. I’ve always tended to assume that I’m not worth it and so why would people be so kind? So I’m always blown away when someone does something kind for me. It can be stupid things like people going out of their way to text me “hello” or call me for no reason. It can be big things like someone knowing I need company one night and going out for dinner with me.

Someone gave me a Starbucks gift card for doing something well at my part-time job. I was completely overwhelmed. I thought I was just doing my job. My managers saw it differently and thought I needed to be rewarded and recognized. When I write that, it seems so small and trivial. But these are the types of things that mean so much to me.

A few months ago, I was living through a stressful time. One of my friends noticed that it was really bringing me down. So he got that group of friends to make me a list of some reasons why they love me. It was categorized into “She’s funny”, “She’s smart”, “She’s kind”, and “She’s generous”. Each one of them wrote down a reason under each category. I almost cried when he gave it to me. (I laughed too because some of it was just goofy.) That these people would go out of their way to do that and to show their love for me – I was stunned. It really shifted my reality and really made me look at myself differently. I must have some special qualities if these people care so much about me. And they really believe that I’m all those things – funny, smart, kind, generous – so some of that must be true. Right? I know I have a hard time believing it but these are intelligent people and they wouldn’t say it if they didn’t truly mean it. Believe me, these people are brutally honest sometimes.

I use that list (yes, I do reread it when I’m having a bad day) to remind myself that I do have some things to offer in this world. I thought of it again the other night because I was in my thinky place (oh no, not the thinky place!) where I overanalyze everything and look at all the negatives. While failing to see the positives of course. Hello, I’m Irish-Catholic, I can’t fight my genes all the time! But I thought of my list, and I talked to my friend AL who held the mirror up for me and made me see the positives. Afterwards, I was so touched that she would take the time (and it was a lot of time!) to help me like that. And overwhelmed.

It shouldn’t be so difficult for me to believe in kindness. And I really should have more faith in myself and what I offer the world. And kindness – and my list – help me with those things.

So now I make a point to try and pass that kindness forward. It helps me get out of my thinky place. And I never know when I just might be changing someone’s day – and maybe their life too!

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

One Response to “I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers…and my friends”

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  1. Looking in the mirror again. | The Reinvented Lass - November 12, 2013

    […] up the mirror for me again. I’ve talked about that before, and before, and before, and before. (Apparently this is a recurring thing for me.) I’m always shocked by how others see […]

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