Friday, September 21, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

 I remember a day when random acts of kindness were not so random and not so rare. It was not unusual for someone to offer a helping hand when you needed it or to bring a hot meal to your door if you or someone in your family was sick. People hitch hiked for rides... and got them, and if you had a flat tire it did not require a road side assistance membership because people would stop to help you. I remember the days when you knew all of your neighbors because people came out of their houses long enough to introduce themselves, there was poker night, cook-outs and pot luck dinners.  Neighborhood kids played together, spontaneously and usually all day long... now play "dates" are scheduled and people are afraid to associate with their neighbors, so they stay inside their homes.  It's a different world today, and I am not so sure that it's a better one now that all of this has changed.

I have always been a giving soul, it comes natural... it's who I am and now that we live in a "think-of yourself only" kind of world and everyone is so fearful of weirdo's, or some psychotic person on drugs people like me feel weird, unusual and often experience feelings of rejection when someone we offer help to looks at us like we have three heads just because we do something nice. Is it so rare for someone to offer a kind and unexpected gesture of care and concern that people always think there is an ulterior motive?

What sparked this blog post was a conversation that I had with one of my dear friend's and client's the other day who happens to be a lot like me. She told me about a man that she knew who eats out every single day for breakfast lunch and often dinner; how being a bachelor he rarely has a home cooked meal. She made some chili for her family the other night and decided since nobody in her house eats left-overs that she would bring this man the left-over chili for his lunch the next day. The man was so overwhelmed with gratitude and taken back by her kindness that he asked her why she did it as if to assume that she had another agenda; his reaction surprised her. I laughed as I told her how I experience this quite often, that I have been left to feel like I am strange... like I was some kind of weird stalker just because I do something nice for someone.

In the past, I have taken it personally when someone treats me like I have the plague after offering my helping hand and I suppose sometimes I still do depending on the situation. However, does this mean I should conform to today's "normalcy" and mind my own business despite how strongly I feel about helping others? Or, do I continue to be "strange" and stop taking it personal when someone does not understand that I am just a nice person with no motives other than to offer help when it's needed? Does this mean I should keep myself and my children cooped up in the house and never meet my neighbors? Certainly not. I will continue to be the person I am even if it means I am weird and unusual, because I have never been normal anyway! I will not be paranoid and will allow my kids to play spontaneously all day  if they choose because the days when life was much simpler, when we did not know where every TRUE weirdo lived, was a day when life was less stressful and less stress is what I strive to achieve each and every day!

I will also continue to share how I think hoping to make some of you think that maybe although life has changed and society has changed... that WE still have a choice of how we allow ourselves to change. We may be busier ... but being thoughtful is still necessary.

Wishing you all a fantastic weekend!