Choosing Kindness

by Leslie Sann

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn around. ~ Leo Buscaglia

I have a client who is a delight. She brings to our conversation wisdom developed from living on this planet more than seven decades. This time she was sharing how she had to take the bus downtown in order to get blood work prior to an upcoming surgical procedure. It was a long commute with walking to the bus stop, waiting for the bus and traveling to her destination. Just as she arrived home after the long journey the phone rang. It was the lab. The blood draw was incomplete and they were wanting her to return so they could finish.

My client sweetly told me she was a little grumpy at first. She didn’t want to leave her cozy home where she was just settling in and get back on the bus. She knew she was going to have to go as the surgery was pending. So she decided she was going to choose patience and kindness, put her coat back on and walk out her front door back to the bus stop.

I asked her to stop her story and tell me how she did that. I asked permission to write about this. Choosing patience in the middle of disturbance, when life is happening other than we prefer, is a skill. We can learn from my client.

She said it was tough for her to do, yet she realized she would rather be on the bus enjoying the sun coming in the window than be grumpy.  Rather than be unkind when she met the lab technician, her preference was to be pleasant.

I asked her to explain  s l o w l y  to me how she made that shift.

What I discovered is she decided to give him a B O B (Benefit Of the Benefit click to see article). She put herself into his shoes. Native Americans call this walking in another’s moccasins. She imagined being new on the job and having messed up with an elderly woman, causing her to have to come all the way back on the bus. She empathized with how bad he must feel.

She knew the young man didn’t do it on purpose. He actually had been very gentle with her while drawing her blood. Something she appreciated greatly. She didn’t want to make him feel worse than she imagined he was already feeling.

Wow — she made serving him more important than the righteous indignation she initially felt. She was going to have to return to the lab regardless of her attitude. She knew she could return with againstness towards this man and the world would agree she’d been done wrong. Instead she went high and chose a place of loving kindness and compassion for the young technician.

We can see her choice provided love and kindness to herself as well. She was the one who got to live in the experience of her attitude. Righteous indignation or loving kindness. Either way she was on the bus headed back for a do-over. In choosing to be kind to him, she served herself as well.

Hmmm, something to notice.

Choosing to walk in another’s moccasins, experiencing their point of view, allows us the opportunity to expand beyond our own personal point of view into something greater. And from this expanded place we can see there are more choices, thus greater freedom to choose a  joyful life.

Back to you (and me). What do we choose. The grumps or the Loving. We always have a choice.

My beloved teacher John-Roger taught me that more than a feeling, Loving is a decision.

What will you choose?

Oh, when you forget to go high, that’s okay. After all you are human, just like the rest of us. Just forgive yourself for forgetting and choose again.