Over the past two weeks I have heard many stories of acts of kindness and caring. The last two blogs have, I guess, resonated with several people who have taken the time to contact me and tell me of people they know who routinely give of themselves to benefit others.
Rather than single out one particular story to relate this week, I would like to share with you the words of one elderly lady – she told me she is 84 – who took the time to call the other day and chat.
When she told me she wanted to discuss her philosophy on The Habit of Kindness and Caring I asked for, and obtained, permission to record the call.
Here’s what she said:
“You know, we read and hear so much about bad things in the world. The newspapers and television only report about bad things and bad people. I understand, they have to sell newspapers and nobody wants to read about a plane landing safely, so it is very easy for us to come to the conclusion that the world is an evil place filled with bad people.
“But that is just plain not true. The world is a wonderful place filled with many kind and caring people who, every day, perform acts of kindness for no other reason than because they want to.
“In the course of my volunteering for many years, I have met so many of these types of people. And when you get to know them, and when they get to tell you the truth behind their kindness – the real reason why they do what they do – you begin to understand the greatest secret of the whole universe.
“Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.’ He was only partially right. What he should have said was, ‘a person never stands him so tall as when they stoop to help another.’
“You see, the first time you perform an act of kindness a strange thing happens. You get a warm, glowing feeling inside that feels so good that you want to feel it again. And you very quickly realize that that feeling only comes from helping others and after a while it’s almost like an addiction.
“As much is you know that, quite often, your small act of kindness and caring – something that is really not a big deal to you – can be life-changing for the recipient but the real irony is that no matter how valuable and helpful that act was to that other person, you will benefit far more from your actions than they ever will.
“If you don’t believe me, just go out and try it. Go to Tim Horton’s and buy a cup of coffee for the person standing in line behind you. Just the look on their face will be worth a hundred times more than the dollar you spent.
“You see, the selflessness of practicing what you call The Habit of Kindness and Caring is the most selfish thing you can do. There’s absolutely nothing you can do that will give you more pleasure and satisfaction than reaching out and performing an act of kindness and caring.
“Tell everyone that an 84-year-old lady taught you the secret of life.
“Oh, and tell them all to go out and do one kind thing for a stranger today. Their lives will never be the same.”
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.
My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.