Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

I am a self-proclaimed emotional sap. I've mentioned that in my blog before, and I'm sure I'll mention it many more times. I get choked up when I watch the news and see how the Red Wings took the Stanley Cup to Children's Hospital to visit with those poor little kids...and how a 90-year-old man who is finally getting his high school diploma is being honored.

I don't think people realize it, but expressing gratitude and taking the time to display random acts of kindness can make or break a person. We're all stressed...we all work too much, vacation too little and don't spend enough time with friends and family. We don't know how to take a minute to just sit back and relax (c'mon people, I know I'm not the only one feeling this way!). Life zips by you at 80 mph speeds. One day it's 15 degrees in January, the next day it's 95 degrees in the middle of June. So when someone goes out of their way to make me feel appreciated, or I witness this happening to someone I know, it makes my day...heck it probably makes my week! That's how much I appreciate knowing that I'm not taken for granted, and the way I live my life and the things I do for other people and my job/clients does not go unnoticed.

Two very spontaneous and random acts of kindness affected me and L-Pan (only four more days until it's officially L-Weber!) in the past week at work, and I can't express how much of an impact it made on the both of us. Of course we know we are appreciated. I would never work in a setting where I felt I was taken for granted. But according to The 5 Love Languages, I am Words of Affirmation...meaning I need to hear things to truly believe them. This may be my quote unquote love language, but I think it applies to all facets of my daily life. Deep down I may know that I do a good job at something or that I'm appreciated, but it won't really sink in until someone affirms it. I could be criticized for this, but hey I am what I am. So needless to say, the spontaneous expression of appreciation meant more to me than the tangible gift itself.

Being kind to others and caring more about someone than I do about myself makes me who I am. My best friend of 19 years lost her best friend and grandfather this past week. It broke my heart to see her in so much pain, and although I was looking forward to nothing other than dressing in 80's gear (check out the Facebook photos!) and celebrating Lauren's last weekend as a single woman, I took time out of my bachelorette celebration weekend and stood by my friend's side as she buried her grandpa. She told me how much it meant to her, and I appreciate that through her suffering she still expressed gratitude. So even though I balled my eyes out, I was happy to know that my presence alone brought her comfort.

Random acts of kindness and expressing gratitude for others can cure so much. There's even an Acts of Kindness Foundation! I know how much I appreciate the "little things" in life. Because it's really the little things that matter most after all...at least I like to think so.

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