Small Acts of Kindness

I wrote this earlier in the week to post today before the terror attacks on Paris this weekend. I’m still going to post it, because given Friday’s awful events, the message I wanted to convey now seems even more poignant than it was 3 days ago – as humans we should be there for each other in whatever capacity we can be: whether than is in one individuals time of need, or an entire nations. The images of Parisians queuing up to give blood, and opening their homes to keep strangers safe shows how, as humans, we have a unique capacity to come together in times of crises. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt this week is that small acts of kindness can help us though dark days.  #PrayforParis – but let’s also take a moment to remember other countries being affected by terrorism every day. We’re all humans, whatever nationality or religion we are. 

We’ve all had them – those days where you wake up and for no apparent reason you are quite possibly in the foulest, vilest mood humanly possible. No one should come near you, because if they do, they might possibly get their head bitten clean off. Those that do find the inner courage to approach you, with their chirpy manner will get the death glare. Just about everyone seems out to piss you off – from the pedestrian that almost walked out in front of your car to the person sniffling and coughing next to you on the train. All you want to do is sit on the floor and throw a big hissy pissy and stamp your feet till someone listens.

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(Hissy pissy photo example courtesy of Liam Garrett)

Last Monday morning for me was no exception. There was absolutely no reason for my abhorrent mood – simply just a case of waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Everything seemed to be going wrong – my alarm’s failure to go off meant that in my rush I tripped and stubbed my foot (v. v. painful) when I got out of bed, when I eventually did make it to my car, someone cut me up on the roundabout which resulted in a remarkable (if I say so myself) emergency stop. Several tears of frustration and words of abuse later that I won’t repeat, l got to the car park at the station to find someone had parked like this:

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The audacity! Just because you have a nice car does not mean you are entitled to take up two spaces!! The inconsideration! Furthermore, my plans for the weekend had completely utterly fallen through, and this was the last straw. I finally make it to the train, sit down and proceed to begin to send a barrage of single lined text messages to whichever of my friends happens to be near a phone about what a morning I’m having. The rest of the day, I seemed stuck in a bad mood I couldn’t seem to shake. In the following days though, I really did have a reason to be in a bad mood, with bad news continuing to arrive.

Suddenly, everything that annoyed me on Monday morning was totally irrelevant – cancelled plans? They can be rescheduled. My rushed morning? I still managed to make it to the train. The person that parked badly? I still managed to find a space (albeit a bit further away). Once the tears started flowing, there was nothing I could do to make them stop. A workman stopped by, gave me his last tissue and then came back 5 minutes later with a whole packet and asked if I was ok. So shocked by his kindness, I didn’t even get a chance to ask his name.

That evening, on the train home, the tears started again. And when you’re sat in the middle of a busy train, the feeling of everyone’s eyes on you is utterly unbearable.  A friendly commuter (they do exist!) risked my wrath and tapped me on the shoulder and wrote out a message on his phone, telling me that it was horrible to see me crying, and that whatever it was, it would get better. This small act of kindness seemed to set me off more and suddenly, I found myself spewing all my feelings to this kind stranger on the train.

Everyone needs to throw that hissy pissy over silly things sometimes – to vent out all your frustration. But I think we always need to remember that in the grand scheme of things, life probably could be worse, and perhaps we should laugh of those annoying moments as oppose to getting frustrated. If the past week has taught me anything, it’s that we should take every chance to remind those that we care about that we are there for them, and to tell them just how much they mean to us. Grasp every opportunity to do something new or exciting that might not come round again. Wake up every morning and try to shake off the bad mood straight away so we can take on the day with fresh eyes. This one is easier said than done, but to forgive those who have hurt us, and to not to push away those that want to be there for you. Most importantly though, to always remember that we don’t know what that sniffling, bleary eyed commuter next to us is going through – it would only take two minutes to give them a smile and possibly cheer them up.

I never did get the chance to properly thank those two people for their kindness, but I will be forever grateful that they took a tiny bit of time out their day to check I was OK. I’ve made the resolution to try and do one small act of kindness a day – because that small deed that may seem insignificant to me, could just brighten that other person’s day.

P.S. for anyone that was worried about my stubbed foot – I can confirm that it is totally fine.

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