Sometimes I like to test my instinct with doing the exact opposite of how I feel. Is that weird? Sometimes I like to practice the “relax and let things fall into place theory,” by impulsively countering my intent to rush when I’m in need for more time. Oftentimes, patience is such a test of will, strength, and a true virtue, as the saying goes.
I tend to find that patience and kindness work hand in hand. I once read that I should try to test myself by letting a car cut in front of me in line, especially when I am in the greatest rush. So I did. Things changed for me from there, permanently.
Believe me, I am not the most patient at all times. I do not meditate, but I do reflect and observe a lot. And the one thing that I have grown to truly admire, feed off of, and dwell on, is the sincere smile from others to me because of something I did. Really—I’m not trying to sound cheesy. It’s absolutely true.
For instance, when I go to the supermarket with a fussy toddler in tow or in a frenzy to pickup the kids from school, I always check behind my overflowing cart in line to see if there is a poor soul with a small basket carrying a handful of items. Rushed or not, I always let her/him ahead of me. The sigh of relief and thankfulness is honestly worth so much more.
I sometimes surprise the neighbors with a plate of muffins that the kids made, with a nice note from them, just to mention that we appreciate being their neighbor.
When it seems like someone is having a bad day, I make sure to offer a compliment. If it’s raining, I oftentimes give my only poncho to someone riding her bike home because I’m driving, and “I’m dry-able,” I say.
If a teacher has the flu, I will randomly bring in a goody-bag with teas, chocolates, throat lozenges, and a kind note to say thank you for working so hard, even when you don’t feel well.
I’m not fake. I’m not naive. I’m not a kiss-ass. I’m not weak.
I am the opposite of all of those things. People seem to perceive kindness as weakness—it’s not. I feed my soul daily from random acts of unconditional kindness because it feels good. I teach my kids to do the same, and I feel pride when I see that instinct kick in.
I feel sincere. I feel kind. I feel strong. I feel happy. I feel appreciative.
Test out your instinct with an act of kindness, and you will be amazed with the gratitude and brightness that will come back to you, full circle.
So long ago, that one call-to-action—to let someone drive in front of you, in line, especially when rushing—changed me for life. And I feel good.