Have you ever met someone for the first time and felt like they gave you a big, warm hug just by how they treated you? It probably felt refreshingly good. What do you give to people you meet? Whether it’s your first time meeting them or your tenth, there is a piece of your essence that you give to them. It’s what leaves an impression. One meeting could change everything for the better, or for the worse. The next time you meet someone leave them with something they can’t deny: kindness. The benefits of kindness are greater than you might think.
I am an extrovert. I can spark up a conversation with anyone about anything and sincerely enjoy it. Even when I am not feeling my extroverted best I will make a concerted effort to talk. Why? Mostly because I want the other person to feel relevant. I’m not sure where this all began or if it has always been in me. I remember being about 5 years old sitting in the trunk of my parents station wagon with my best friend waving at everyone in their cars. It felt good seeing smiles on people’s faces and I am sure, in some ways, it made me feel significant.
Alternatively, when I was in the ninth grade I had a few friends who were bona fide snobs. For the sake of this article we will call them ‘the snobs’. I recall walking to class with less popular girls and the snobs actually pulling me aside and saying ‘ew, why are you walking with her?’. When a boy would crush on me the snobs would spare no expense in making fun of him. Looking back now it was pretty pathetic. The snobs were who they were but the pathetic part is that I lowered my standards and called them my friends. From that experience I learned what kind of person I did not want to be.
Cold As Ice
I was born in a very racist city and era in Canada and was frequently referred to as a ‘paki’. My parents were from India but to white Canadians we were all pakis. Being too young to understand that it was not politically correct, I accepted the fact that we minorities were inferior to white people.
I recall being 10 years old and being on an ice skating trip with my school. I skated up to a caucasian boy and girl who were in my class and the boy said ‘get out of here you paki’. That was the first time it felt wrong…because it hurt. There were a few other incidents such as this one that caused me pain. Knowing how bad it felt to be mistreated I could not allow myself to bring that upon anyone else. I suppose I could have taken another route and projected that pain onto others, but that is not how we evolve. When we feel something is wrong, first-hand, we are getting a lesson. We are being given insights into what behaviors cause what feelings. There is no need to perpetuate them. We can break the cycle and push more goodness out to the world.
One Person Welcome Wagon
In college one of my friends told me that I am like the welcome wagon for any newbie who joins our group. She told me that I have a warmth that makes people feel invited. I didn’t understand why this was a unique quality, since it didn’t have to be. We have a choice when we meet someone. I never forgot that comment as I continue to hear similar remarks ever since. At work I was the person that everyone could count on for a smile. In my social circle I was the shoulder for my friends to lean on. While this might sound draining, it was just the opposite. I felt empowered and it instilled in me the confidence that I could make a positive impact on another person.
Being kind is not a weakness. It is a virtue of strength. Your cup has to be full if you are going to be able to share its contents with someone. I realize that the more I share the more gets poured back into my cup. Try it. Choose kindness and compassion the next time you meet a person or an animal. Be sincere about it. We are all going through life and dealing with struggles in the same way. Sometimes we just need another person to make us feel important, welcomed, and respected. Be that for someone else and watch your confidence grow, self esteem improve, and cup start to overflow! The end result for me is that I have strong and healthy relationships with friends and family, as well as strangers I meet for the first time. Who doesn’t want that?
Check out 5 key benefits of kindness summarized below:
- You will gain confidence and your self esteem will improve.
- The world will become a slightly better place because you positively impacted someone. It is highly likely that the person you impacted will pass on your kindness!
- You will become more attractive. Like bees to honey, people will flock to you because of your kind demeanor. The right people, anyway.
- You will have more fulfilling relationships. When kindness is at the core of any interaction then it is bound to be a positive one.
- You will leave a lasting impression. Just as people remember when someone has done them wrong, they also remember when someone has made them feel good. This could lead to a number of opportunities and opened doors!
Wherever you go and whomever you meet you can can always give the gift of kindness. It costs you nothing and pays you back in multiple ways. So, keep it kind folks!