It was a cold, gray day about 10 years ago. The wind was blowing as I walked out of the grocery store with a full cart, trying to juggle my just turned 2 year old and my 8 month old baby amidst all of the plastic bags filled with food. I was squeezing the trip in after a long day at work while my hubby traveled from the college where he was taking classes to his full time job.
“Overwhelmed” would have been a major understatement at the time. I felt lost on the details of mothering. And the stress of working a busy teaching job while raising these boys so close in age, nearly on my own (while hubby was finishing his degree) was wearing on me.
Each time I went into public, I would imagine everyone around me shooting judgmental stares my way. (As if I had time to lift my eyes off of what I was doing to see them.)
On that particular day, as I heaved a heavy sigh and pushed my load towards our car, a woman walked past me. I braced myself for the inevitable comment about having two boys so close in age.
She didn’t stop walking. She didn’t even make eye contact with me.
But I’ll still never forget her.
As she passed me, she casually said, “It gets better.”
That was it. But it meant the world to me. Exactly what I needed to hear in that frustrating moment.
Acts of Kindness in Small Words
It seems so simplistic. So easy, that it was almost like a waste of time. Why bother to speak words of encouragement to a perfect stranger?
This is why.
When we see a fellow Mom struggling, let’s not waste energy judging her. Or even silently cheering her on. Let’s offer her just a small bit of encouragement. You never know when your casual words spoken in passing can mean the world to someone else.
So many times we speak of random acts of kindness as if we need to spend money on the next person in line in order to spread joy. But in a world full of “stuff,” where people are so hungry for simplicity, it makes sense that small connections of kindness can make such a difference.
What is kindness?
You may have heard the quote “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” (Though often contributed to C.S. Lewis, it is not proven that he ever said this. The true speaker remains inconclusive.)
I would make the argument that you could replace the word “humility” with the word “kindness” and still have a valid statement.
Showing kindness means that we must consider the needs of others. We can show kindness to loved ones, acquaintances, and strangers. It’s an easy thing to be wrapped up in ones own wants and needs. We are all busy, probably busier than most of us really need to be. If you want to have more kindness in your life, you can’t just hope for the best. You have to actively look for ways to show it.
Ways to show kindness
There are a million ways to show acts of kindness! Here are a few ideas that don’t cost a dime.
- Forgive someone who’s done you wrong, even if they don’t ask for forgiveness.
- Do a job that someone else would otherwise have to do (unload the dishwasher, sharpen pencils, pick up litter)
- Speak kindly to someone who could use a pick me up
- Give a hug or a smile
- Hold back the mean response that you wanted to say
- Make an actual phone call
Consider some ways you can show acts of kindness to someone today.
What is your favorite way to show random acts of kindness?