Friday, July 05, 2019
The past week I've been trying to focus on 'kindness' and tried to practice it more.
I chose to try to be extra kind and polite when talking on the phone, to marketeers, shop assistants and so on. And to try to remember to smile at people in the street - that was harder than I thought, I kept forgetting. When I did remember it struck me how many people walk around feeling completely absorbed by their thoughts (and their cell phones). This made it extra worth while to get a smile in return.
I also practiced picking up my phone with my full name and a 'smile' in my voice.
Also in my emails I tried to pay attention to my words. I notice that here, it's becoming a habit of people to start an email or message by just saying my first name. 'Christina, your appointment was cancelled.'
I dislike that and it's not a custom here, really. As a contrast, I knew someone who started his emails with 'Good morning dear Christina, thanks for your message, I'd like to let you know that your appointment has been cancelled as you asked."
What a difference that makes! (I should add that in Dutch we don't use the word 'dear' but a similar, less personal term - so it's not as personal as it seems when I translate it to English).
I looked the cashiers at the grocery store in the eye and made an effort to be sincere in my wishes for a good day for them, and that was very nice, and I began to notice that some of them really do mean it when they say 'a good day to you' and they also notice it when I notice!
I live in the Netherlands in a calm neighbourhood and many people here know one another. A friend here at SP remarked that in the US it might be dangerous to smile at strangers in the street. So I reflected on that... Even if I should feel it's dangerous to smile at someone in the street I can still silently wish them well or see them with kindness, without judgment. Try to 'really see them', as opposed to just rushing by and not acknowledging their humanity and their existence.
Sometimes when I am waiting for a traffic light I look at all the cars driving by, watching the drivers and wishing them a good day in my heart.
What small or big acts of kindness do you practice? What acts have you performed in the past week, or what acts do you intend to perform?