While driving through a small city here in northern California a few weeks ago, I witnessed a simple scene: a woman walked across the street in front of a car that had stopped at the cross walk. The car had stopped at the corner, perhaps a foot over the line. As the woman walked across the street, passing the car, she shook her head and called out her unhappiness at the driver having driven into the cross walk.
As I watched, I remembered other, personal experiences I’d had in this particular city, a progressive place with lots of educated folks. I’ve been told to re-park my car a few inches back so that there was room for another car. I’ve had “the finger” shaken at me for some small infraction. And let’s be honest: I’ve “lost it” myself on many occasions, and not cared how I treated others.
Sure, it’s tough to be a pedestrian. I get that – and I’ve had plenty of experience! Cities are for walking, in my experience!
Still, there’s something to be said for a little bit of kindness. How about a simple nod and a smile? How about a slight wave of the hand to the driver? How about putting down one’s sense of entitlement for a moment to realize that this is simply another human being, busy and over-worked and preoccupied maybe, but still, a person who wanted to do what is right.
Kindness can go a long way in our communities. Kindness is such a simple thing, really, but it takes a bit of thoughtfulness, a certain presence, a certain commitment to being a positive energy in someone’s day.
You give yourself kindness. You do it for yourself. The thing is, when you give yourself kindness, it gets spread to the next person, and the next, and the next.
Offering kindness does not mean we don’t work for justice; we do work for justice. Offering kindness is a result of our attitude, our approach to life and to others. It’s how you “do” life.
You give yourself kindness, and you do it for yourself, independent of how you’ve been treated. That’s what it means to give up the sense of entitlement; stop watching what others are doing, and take the time to see what you are doing, what you are contributing, how you’re creating positive community – or not.
After all… who can you change? Someone else? Or yourself? (If you figure out a way to change someone else, please let me – let us all – know!) Practice kindness for a day. Practice. Make kindness your goal for a day. Make kindness your religion. A little goes a long way.