I’ve been back and forth on how to approach this blog entry.

Why? The world seems to be in such a negative place right now. I want to discuss it, but at the same time, like a lot of people I know I am completely fatigued by the ugliness that seems to be common place on social media and in the news as of late.

SO, I erased my earlier draft of this blog and decided to focus only on this positive message and save my rants for another day.

“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, There isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion”~ Dalai Lama

Let’s face it. No one is perfect and each and every one of us certainly can have our moments when we’re ‘not at our best’(I’ll be the first to admit that) After all, we’re humans and such is human nature. Sometimes I find anger and indifference can come to me so easily, and I don’t like that about myself. Over the years I have ‘adjusted’ my attitude in a lot of ways (It can be done!) mainly for the sake of my children and the legacy I wish to leave them with, but also for me. I don’t always want to be a grump. It’s quite exhausting.

One thing I strive to teach my kids is how to treat others openly with kindness and compassion, even when it’s hard. I don’t just teach this and lecture them on this, I try to lead by example.

I’ll be perfectly honest, I used to associate open kindness and overly friendly personalities with weakness, not a ‘terrible’ weakness, but like so many out there, I used to think that being consistently kind and nice meant being a doormat. Like a line was drawn and you’re either strong or you’re weak. Pick one and be done with it. I always chose to be ‘strong’. (Like I said, indifference comes easy to me)

That was my narrow minded, younger self. Life has taught me that isn’t that case at all. Truth be told, I’ll admit that becoming a mother changed that about me. I wanted my children to be able to look up to me, the way I looked up at my parents and my track record wasn’t the greatest. I turned over a new leaf and I learned a new lesson:

Strength comes in all shapes and sizes, just as kind acts come in many different forms.

As I watched the news and scroll through my social media feed, the frustration and anger I feel has reached an all time high, and I know I am not alone in this. Instead of ranting and raving (as is typically my norm) I felt driven to do the complete opposite. I want to highlight some good that’s in our world. It’s a small act in itself, but I hope those of you who are feeling a bit worn and weary take a deep breath with me and let the next portion of this blog inspire you.

I felt compelled to ask my friends and family about what they have done for others in 2016 and what people have done for them. We all come from different walks of life, but all have one common goal-Spreading Compassion and Kindness when we can. With their permission, I share with you some of the responses that I received:

“My random act of kindness… actually happens often. I do it to feel good and hopefully make someone’s day a little better. Usually one day, every other week, I pay for the order behind me at Tim Horton’s. During the smile cookie promo, I bought 10 and asked for them to be handed out to the next ten cars.

I also volunteer for kid’s workshops. Work donates the materials. I donate my time. I have the scouts coming next week. The week after that I am going into an early year’s center. And further in December I am going to a school that can’t afford to come to my work. 100 kids between those 3 events.”  ~Lisa G.

“I have received meals and groceries due to my being sick….from people who care.
Just recently I purchased an item from a Christmas Bazaar…it was a homemade centerpiece with candles, ribbons and greenery placed in a birch tree log…very pretty, my kind of thing…I was so happy with my find but before I left the building I decided to have a cup of coffee and placed my “prized purchase” in front of me….while I had my coffee, a lady approached me and said how much she loved my purchase…she asked if there were any more left…I knew mine was the last one and told her so…her face told a story of disappointment… that look broke my heart for this was the only item that brought light to her eyes sooo I did the  “Debbie thing” …I gave it to her…her eyes danced with light and love…my heart overflowed…” ~ Debbie

“Every year our family does a pay it forward for the month of December you can do it all year or whenever you like to. We go to the grocery store where the carts are and place the coins in the carts for others. We buy people coffee who are behind us in drive thru. If we have extra crash and we are out for breakfast with family and see a couple/other family’s -we will pay there bill secretly, My daughters school has a Christmas tree inside every year and decorate it with hats mitts scarfs and donate food for under tree and goes to down town mission. We also buy toys gift and donate at fire hall + baked goods for our service men and woman. +++ many more” ~Tara

“I frequently buy coffee for people behind me in line. We did have a person buy $50 of gas for use once when the prepaid visa we got wasn’t properly registered and I didn’t have the cash to pay for the gas at the time. That was a number of years ago though” ~ Lisa K

“I noticed that an older lady living down the street from me had broken her arm. I made soup and bought a cute card for her and delivered it. She is a sweet lady. Now when she sees me we always hug.” ~ Cindy

“I chose a tag from the campus giving tree … so I could help a child this Christmas. Not all of us have people looking out for us and I thought I could look out for this little girl. Her wish? Warm clothes. No child should ever want for a basic necessity like that. I can’t wait to package some stuff up for her to unwrap at the annual campus Holiday Extravaganza. My mother in law wanted to help too so I got her a tag as well. She has a 6 year old girl that wanted a whole bunch of stuff including art supplies and candy. I usually try to take a bag of food to the local animal shelter as well because I feel animals are forgotten at this time of year. They should be remembered and rewarded ALL year round but especially at Christmas time.” ~ Sarah

It’s not just my friends. I have my own stories and I typically don’t discuss all of them, which is silly because in times like these we need to share the good.  So here are a few of mine……

I’ve been very ill this year, more than once I have found myself in the hospital ER waiting to see if they were going to perform emergency surgery. During one of these visits, the ER was so full that they needed to place me in a ‘waiting area’ where they could hook up my IV and let the medications do their work while I waited for the surgeon. There were other people with me. One woman had just come out of one of the beds, crying. She had received some bad news from the doctor and had been placed across the room from me. Everyone just sat staring at her as she wiped her nose and face on her sleeve and I couldn’t believe it, not a single person offered her a tissue. I was in tremendous pain but I couldn’t watch her cry. I didn’t know her story and I didn’t need to. I asked my husband to pass me my purse and I took a package of Kleenex out. I didn’t let the pain stop me. I grabbed my IV pole, limped over to her and gave her the package of tissues which she graciously and gratefully accepted. I just wanted her to know that in a room full of strangers that someone cared.

Another example happened just before Thanksgiving when our local police had a Food Drive set up in front of our local Grocery store. I saw them promoting it on Twitter so I went to that store. I filled up a cart with non-perishable food and purchased it, than I walked out to the cruiser that they were stuffing full of these items and I passed the volunteers my cart. Without giving my name, I simply smiled, assured them it was all for them and walked off.

I’ve also had random strangers show kindness to me, and one thing happened this year will always stick with me. I was out shopping with my youngest daughter who had just had a major growth spurt. We were buying her a new fall/winter wardrobe. While we were shopping and waiting for the change rooms, I was doing as I normally do…. singing and bopping along to the music. I was completely oblivious that anyone had really been watching.

When I lined up for the check out, my arms laden with clothes, there was this family in front of me paying with these ‘cash coupons’ that were all the rage that weekend. (I honestly didn’t even know what they were-I’m typically not a coupon person) The husband turned around and smiled at me as they finished paying and said “I thought it was fun that you were singing and dancing around the store, please take these we had more then we needed today and Thank You” and he passed me their left over cash coupons. I was shocked, really? Someone was watching my goofball-self and thanked me for it? His wife smiled at me. My jaw was on the floor, but I accepted them and thanked them for their generosity. Thanks to them, I was able to save quite a bit of money on my purchase. They didn’t need to do that for me, but they did and I am glad that my silly singing antics brought them some happiness. Usually most people are like “Oh crap, she’s at it again…..”

Whether the acts are small or large, whether they cost money or not, these are the things that make the world a better place. I know some people will scoff or be critical of this, but these actions really do all add up. (Take it from a reformed skeptic)

Breathe out the negative and breathe in the positive and let’s keep spreading what joy we can to our fellow man (and even for those animals Sarah mentioned above!) and continue to show our future generation how it’s done!

The world certainly needs it right now.

If you have any kindness stories of your own to share, please feel free to post them in the comments!