A few days ago, I published Suspicious kindness, a post about how many people have trouble accepting random acts of kindness.
I was surprised by the interest it raised. Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised, because you Lovelies are kind people, and we share this will to make the world a better place, a little gesture at a time. The many comments got me thinking again about the whole thing, and I just had to push the reflection a step forward.
So in my last post, I was talking about how, in today’s society, it seemed that nothing good came for free. Or, at least, how that thought was our first reflex, when faced to a random act of kindness. Most people (I think), don’t believe that kindness can be totally free. You’re offering me a lift? You must have something in mind to make me pay for the ride… You’re offering me a gift of some kind? I’ll most likely owe you in the end…
It is as if we were offered a contract without being allowed to read the fine prints at the bottom of the page.
I remember in 2009, when Québec’s lotery company Loto Québec (my current employer) launched a new lotery, they made an all around the province publicity event. That morning, I got out of my apartment to go take the bus to get to work as usual, when a man walked to me and handed a flower bouquet my way. The guy wore a Loto Québec polo, but when presented the bouquet of beautiful flowers, I took a step back.
How much is it? – I asked, not wanting to spend money for flowers I hadn’t planned to buy.
The man looked at me with a wide smile…
It is free, Miss… Have a wonderful day!
I remember feeling cheap for asking him. Maybe that’s why I now (usually) accept kindness for what it is. Because it happens, and it is real, and more importantly, it is more common than we would think.
For years now, I’ve been inviting you to make random acts of kindness to make (small, but significant) acts of kindness to brighten other people’s lives. Now, I think that there is something even easier you can do to improve our world.
Welcome kindness into your life.
Accept the compliment, the gift or the little help that gets offered to you. Encourage the generous to stay generous, and try to pay the favor forward, when you can.
Because refusing kindness (unless you have a good reason for doing so – like really wanting to sort out your problem by yourself) might kill the will to be kind in that person’s heart.
And that, to me, is quite a shame.
I do believe in kindness in our 2021 world, but like so many other matters, we have to help it.