[Author’s Note: a repost from December 14, 2019.]
I was in line at Carrefour last night, a little focused watching How I Met Your Mother, when I suddenly overheard the cashier say something I didn’t clearly hear to the customer in front of me.
“Sorry, what is it?” the girl asked, looking away from her phone, obviously not hearing him for the first time, too.
“I just started work yesterday. Sorry, Ma’am,” the guy answered with a nervous look on his face; to which the girl replied, “No, it’s okay!” giving him a smile after.
All of a sudden, my focus went from Netflix to the cashier, trying to understand what is happening. Turns out the cashier did a mistake from his machine and is taking a little more time than usual until his colleague volunteered to fix the issue. He apologized to the woman in front of me one last time before she leaves then warmly greeted me after – as if he wasn’t nervous a few seconds before. We even exchanged more than a few thank you’s during the transaction but nonetheless, I was happy I was more patient during that short amount of time.
You see, the guy’s really nice. He was really polite and was doing his job pretty well. If the girl in front of me didn’t take the situation nicely at all, the guy might be bummed out to have had a bad experience on his second day.
Did his disclaimer help? Yes. It made people understand why it was taking more time. Should people try to be more understanding even if they didn’t know he only started work the other day? Still a big yes.
I hope we all remain kind with or without the disclaimer. People don’t walk around with signs on their head telling us what is happening to them. The stupid driver in front of you whom you said shouldn’t have been given a license might be someone who returned to driving after a traumatic incident. The emotional employee you think was crazy might be someone who found out that her husband of 36 years has been cheating on her. Or the zoned out waiter you have been calling for attention for might be someone who’s thinking of where he’ll get the money for his dad’s hospital bill this time. We do not know what people are going through. For all we know, people might have just lost a pet or a loved one.
Start choosing kindness with yourself first. Oftentimes, we are so kind to others that we forget to be kind to ourselves. We try to cheer friends up by telling good things like, “You can do it!” or “I believe in you!” but when we speak to our own selves, we bring ourselves down and continuously say, “You are not good enough.” Speak to yourself like a friend; treat yourself like a friend. Practice self-love until your tank is overflowing with love and kindness that you can finally extend it to others.
I know it takes compassion and strength to remain kind especially in stressful situations that it’s just easier to not be one. But at the end of the day, did it make you happy knowing that you’ve done something wrong to someone? When your heart has given its final beat and your bones have returned to dust, do you think the ones you left behind will remember how much money you made or how high you have achieved? No, of course not. They will remember how you made them feel. How much love you gave and how beautiful your heart is.
In this world where you can be anything, choose to be kind. Because kindness, no matter how many times it was taken for granted, is always worth it. If people take advantage of it, do not let it affect you because it isn’t and will never be your fault. It only shows a reflection of who they are. Being kind may seem like a vulnerability but it is never a weakness. How can you be weak when in fact, it takes so much strength to be truly kind?
I cannot assure you that the kindness you give out to the universe will come back to you. But tell me, if your heart is genuinely pure and kind, does it really matter?