Random acts of kindness

Week 4.  Definitely getting back on my feet and getting out and about more, but still nowhere near where I should be at (even a reduced version of my former self).   Had to request a further week off work, so this is it, last week as a lady of leisure (thank goodness).   With this surgery, it definitely is a case of time, time and more time.

I read something lovely this week, something that has been going over in my mind since reading it.   I also experienced an act of kindness, and both got me thinking about the role of positive and negative things (people and thoughts) in our lives and the parts they play in dictating our moods and behaviours and responses to situations.

Here’s what I came across – a pearl is created as a result of an oyster being irritated by a grain of sand.   The oyster responds to the discomfort of the grain of sand by creating a smooth, protective coating that surrounds the sand, thereby providing relief to the oyster.   The outcome – a beautiful pearl.

When I think of some of the people in my life that have irritated, bullied or by-passed me, it can be difficult to think of them as pearls!!  However, thinking about it, it is often our reactions to irritating, annoying situations or people that can dictate how the situation turns out.   It is all about your outlook, your perspective, your thoughts.   I challenge you this week to consider situations you have found yourself in, that had not gone as you had planned or thought, and see if you had changed your original way of thinking about the situation, would the outcome (or interaction) have taken a different path.   It really is the old, glass half empty,  glass half full thinking, turning problems into challenges, negatives into positives.   Through experience I have learnt that life can be too short to spend tied up in knots over worrying about silly things, letting insignificant people get the better of you, and not being good to yourself.

This thinking was supported this week by a trip to the hairdressers (step 1 – be good to yourself!).   This hairdresser is relatively new to me.   I hobbled in (not especially upright that day and shuffling my slow shuffle) and she gave me such a warm greeting (she knew of my surgery).   She asked if I was having a colour and I said that although I was not altogether happy with my colour, being off work for 5 weeks, I was only able to stretch to a cut today and would come back another day.   (I should explain that I had had a not-so-great experience previously where, due to some misinterpretation, I had ended up as a red-head with blonde highlights – I thought I had been clear enough in asking for blonde base, with red highlights – or as my 14yr old son remarked, I like the yellow bits Mum…). She agreed that I did look a bit ‘brassy’ (really?!!) and said she’d look at it.   Without talking any further, this lovely lady put a colour wash through my hair.   When it came to paying, she refused to charge for the colour (and indeed charged less for the cut than normal) – why?  We were hyster-sisters and……she could.   It was her gift to give.

I felt the generosity and warmth of this gesture (aside from feeling much better within myself now that I did not look ‘brassy’ any longer!!) for a few days afterwards.   It reminded me of the summer before last.   We had gone home to Ireland.   I spent the last afternoon of my holidays in the hospice in Harold’s Cross, saying goodbye to my sister-in-law, who at 44yrs of age, had lost the battle with cancer.   I left the hospice distraught.   I do not remember the journey through tea-time Dublin city traffic, to the hire-car company to return the rental.   A young man dealt with my paperwork, with little interaction from me (I was doing all I could keeping it together until I met back up with my husband and kids, knowing I could pour out my grief then).   I left the offices and began walking the roads, aimlessly looking for a taxi.   Within a couple of minutes a car pulled up alongside me and it was the young man from the rental company, asking where I was heading and offering me a spin (ride).   There was something about his genuineness that made me get in the car.   He knew there was something up.   I shared some of my day with him.   He drove me straight to my destination (which was not on his route).

We never know how someone else’s day is going.  We can tend to get wrapped up in what is going on with ourselves.   I believe it is often as easy to be nice, as it is to be nasty.   Be nice to a stranger this week – you never know what it might mean to them or how it might come back to you one day.


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