(ENG only) The other day I was traveling from Galway to Dublin and about 5 mins. after getting into the bus, I managed to drop my tiffin full of rice crackers and dairy free chocolate. The stainless steel container made an awfully loud sound as it smashed on the floor while the snacks quickly spread all over the floor. I was dying of embarrassment (of course) and didn’t even started to pick up the snacks off the floor (the disappointment of losing them was just too big to deal with…) that two complete strangers already started picking bits and bobs up. They chose to be kind to and help me, a clumsy stranger, and even smiled at me and made a couple of jokes. I felt awful for a few minutes (oh well, it wouldn’t be me otherwise…) but felt genuinely uplifted by their kindness and friendliness. I couldn’t stop thinking that, if this would have happened in Berlin, people would have just stared at me without helping but simply staring, judging, making comments, whispering, giggling, making me feel even more awful. Berlin may have lots of good sides but the friendliness of people is certainly not one of them, for the most part (sorry, but Berlin can be harsh to live in sometimes).
As I’m writing this, I’m just about halfway through my trip but can tell hands down how warm and friendly Irish are. They smile, they are genuinely polite, they talk to strangers in a way that really warms my heart. What happened that day made me think a lot about kindness, and this is just one very simple example. Think about when someone buys a homeless or a less fortunate some food (which I’ve seen doing in Dublin exactly as I am typing this, by the way) or when someone keeps the door open for you, or lets you go before them in line at the grocery store because you only have one item to pay, or when someone tells you that you dropped a coin or your bag is accidentally open instead of keeping on walking.
Irish people choose to be kind, polite, friendly, smiley, welcoming. This should be the norm, right? Oh well, it seems to me that it isn’t. We shouldn’t surprise ourselves because a stranger chooses to be kind to us. It seems to me instead that kindness and smiles and thank yous and acts of generosity are taken for granted. We underestimate the power of being kind. Kindness generates and attracts kindness. What does being rude, spiteful, disrespectful bring in the end? Nothing. Because if someone is defensive and harsh towards people, that’s what they get back. So what’s the point? We already live in a fast paced world, where stress, anxiety, selfishness and self centered behaviors seem to be the norm society lives by.
I wonder why we need constant reminders to lean more towards a sense of community. Is it because people overall don’t love themselves enough? Because they don’t show true, genuine kindness to themselves first?
Speaking from a personal point of view, it is extremely hard to show love kindness and compassion to myself. Whenever I choose not to take photos because I hate the way I look, whenever I choose not to take a break or say “no” to an invitation even though I am tired af, whenever I eat junk or overeat, again, whenever I think I am a “fraud” and I don’t deserve what I own or whenever I think I suck, whenever I think I look like shite when I look in the mirror. These are all ways in which I subconsciously tell myself that I am not worthy of love, from myself and from others too. Because when you don’t love yourself and put self love and self compassion into your routine as part of your daily practice, there is only a certain amount of love and kindness that you can give to others before feeling drained, exhausted, burnt out. Because “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. And to me this usually translates in an urge of being isolated and not really feeling like being around others. You won’t be able to radiate kindness, joy, compassion and love if you don’t show up for yourself first.
The world would be such a great place if everyone chose to simply BE KIND. To themselves. To family members and strangers. To random strangers. To animals and all living creatures, to plants and the environment, to public places they attend and to countries and cities they visit.
So, to sum it up, if there’s anything that you should take from this huge ramble of mine, this is it: choose kindness. Choose to be compassionate. Choose to be warm hearted. Choose to spread love. Choose to spread positivity to those around you. Choose to make this world a better place. Choose to be someone that treats others the way the want to be treated.