As I was driving to work today, the DJ on one of our local stations shared a story that inspired me to put out this call as we head into our weekend. She is very pregnant and was standing in line at a Starbucks when another women elbowed her very hard in her belly.
And then…nothing. No apology, no checking to see if she was okay. The DJ remarked that in the three years since her last pregnancy she had noticed a decline in the level of helpfulness and kindness.
Perhaps it is a reflection of many people feeling the stress of the economy. When hard times hit, it is natural to go into survival mode. We can be paralyzed by fear of the unknown or thrown into a “me first” mode of thinking when we live out of a need to survive.
Choosing, instead, to live from compassion so we work together to help each other creates a whole different experience. The circumstances of a challenging economy may still be as they are but if we can put aside fear and look toward collaboration, we can actually thrive.
It takes so little time to hold open a door, help a neighbor, share a smile or apologize and take responsibility when we accidentally bump a pregnant woman in her belly. Ignoring the impact we have on others can only lead to living an isolated, empty existence. It is especially important during challenging times to connect with our communities, families and friends.
When we’re focused on getting through our own challenges such as a cancer diagnosis, it can be difficult to look beyond our own circumstances. Practicing compassion towards others helps us also be that for ourselves. In times of crisis, connecting through caring is a great way to stay grounded. It also helps to create community so we have others who are there to share our journey.
How can you answer the call for kindness this weekend, knowing that in doing so you are stepping out of surviving and into the energy of thriving?