MY CHOSEN SUPERPOWER IS KINDNESS…
“Too often we underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring – all of which have the potential to turn a life around”
After a few weeks away, I’ve been reflecting on how much our attitudes towards each other appear to have changed in the world; questioning ‘where all the good manners have gone?’ and wondering when, as a society, we all became so fearful?
Decades ago, I would have been totally shocked by someone’s lack of etiquette and common courtesy, whereas now I’m pleasantly surprised and humbled when I experience acts of random kindness or if I’m lucky enough to be on the receiving end of good manners.
There are times at every point of every day when we have the choice of being polite and considerate versus rude and insensitive. Even in the most trying and uncomfortable situations we can make the choice to be a lady, to be a gentleman or to just be an all-round kind human being. Even on miserable days when the world seems to have a vendetta against us or when we have other things on our mind, forcing a smile has the potential to lift the mood of not only the person you’re engaging with but to lift yours as well… offer a friendly face and who knows, you might even see an extra ray of sunshine!
A rather unfortunate situation some years ago taught me to be proud of the kindness we are capable of displaying towards others…
After seeing several people walk past without so much of a second glance, I dashed across the road to help an elderly gentleman who had tripped over and fallen to the ground, sustaining a significant blow to his head along the way. After reaching the poor old chap, I shouted at the shop assistants who were looking on from behind the safety of their shop windows to immediately call for an ambulance. I popped him into the recovery position and took off my scarf, using it to apply pressure to his injury in order to reduce the loss of what already looked like a lot of blood whilst calmly keeping him talking and conscious. The ambulance crew arrived quickly and made their way through the crowd of onlookers that had gathered around – not one of which had offered any help prior to or after this point. I’m certainly no doctor and only acted in a way that felt instinctive in that very moment but the crew thanked and complimented me on how I’d handled the situation and took over from there, swiftly taking the man and my blood soaked scarf off to the A&E. The crowd quickly dispersed to head off on their Saturday shopping trips when I realised that my hands were covered in blood. I asked one of the shop assistants if I could use their bathroom to clean up, only to be advised of the precise location of the nearest public toilets given that their company policy ‘didn’t allow customers to use employee facilities’! To me, the biggest irony of this story is that this horrible set of events took place outside of a ‘Charity Shop’, whose ’cause’ was to provide help to the elderly in the UK and this was where that oh so helpful shop assistant had chosen as her place of work!
The human population in my world that day had truly shocked me but I was glad to be ‘me’ and was proud of my actions. I called the hospital that evening to hear that although the gentleman was badly bruised, in shock and remaining in hospital overnight as a precaution, he had his family with him and was going to be just fine.
Experiences like this make me question when and why we all became so fearful? It might be of each other, of ourselves and in some cases, of the world around us but when did we stop helping out our fellow citizens? Was it the scaremongering media and their tales of terror and violence or did we just stop caring? We are social beings and this, to me, doesn’t seem like a logical evolution of our behaviour…
I could question this all day long but it would be an unproductive use of my time given that I don’t have the answer to the ‘why?’ and if I did, would anyone listen and would anyone act? Instead, I would rather focus on being mindful of the fact that we are all human beings trying to survive alongside each other and know that a little kindness can make a big difference to someone elses experience – rather than ‘why?’ ask yourself ‘why not?!’
The next time you see someone in need of assistance, why not ask if you can do anything to help? If you have just entered a building and someone is right behind you, why not hold the door open for them and smile, rather than letting it slam in his or her face?! On top of our actions, certain words carry a tremendous amount of power when used to those around us so ‘Why not’ try adding “please,” “thank you,” “you’re welcome,” and “excuse me” when talking to those you encounter… you may just find others responding with reciprocated kindness.
It could just as easily be any one of us struggling and being in need of a helping hand, receiving the abrupt slamming door in face treatment or being injured and ignored…
I’m a long way from perfect, but where possible I choose to respect and treat others the way I would want others to respect and show kindness towards me and this will always be my first choice, my instinctive choice… My chosen superpower is kindness; what’s yours?
“Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”