Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. – Plato
Life is tough. And it’s always something.
Some people are struggling to put food on the table. Others are facing a life-threatening illness.
Some people have lost loved ones. Others are estranged from their family.
Some people are lonely. Others are in relationships but still feel alone and isolated.
Some people just can’t stand their job. Others can’t seem to find one.
Which is why this Christmas … and every day of the year … we should give the gift of kindness.
While it sounds cheesy, it is the one gesture that can turn someone’s crappy morning or afternoon into a better day – and it doesn’t have to cost anything. All of us are struggling, which is why empathy cannot only heal the soul but give others hope. Showing that you care, that you are willing to go out of your way to open a door, or let an older person step in front of you in the grocery store checkout line, or allow someone INTO your lane on the freeway, can make a huge difference.
Even avoiding posting spoilers for the latest Stars War movie is an act of kindness.
I make it a point to try to be kind to everyone. And I admit I am not always successful. When I find it challenging, when someone is incredibly mean or inconsiderate, I try very hard to put myself into his or her shoes. At the end of the day, I figure you can get more accomplished with kindness than meanness.
Being kind also has the power to catch people off guard. Mean people rarely expect kindness in return.
For me, the greatest gift someone can give me is an act of kindness. Fortunately, I have been showered with these gifts all of my life. In many instances they have been life affirming – and life saving. The nurses at City of Hope come immediately to mind.
So as you hassle the mall for last-minute shopping, or struggle to find a parking space at the grocery store, or deal with traffic jams or crowded airports or cranky baristas, try to give the gift of kindness.
It will go a long way helping you get into the Christmas spirit -- and stay there throughout the year.
Dr. Lori Baker-Schena is the founder and chief executive officer of Baker Schena Communications, a firm dedicated to “Unleashing Your Potential Through the Power of Words.” We offer motivational speaking, leadership consulting and medical writing services. Find us at www.loribakerschena.com