Be kind to others. It will come back to you in unexpected ways.
We were all taught to follow this dictum, after all. Our grandparents are the guiding lights in our lives who instil these qualities in us. My Nani used to always keep a pot of water outside for the needy and passers-by who were thirsty when I was a kid. While I mistook the same for birds, she later clarified that it was for people. As part of Kanyadaan, she also made sure to include some articles on essential needs in a marriage. And so on, I learned these small but powerful acts of kindness from my grandparents in this manner.
Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.Scott Adams
Indeed, so true these words are. No act of kindness you do towards another person can be deemed as big or small. It completely is a form of a chain you create that will surely continue and have a further action as well as a reaction to it. You cannot sit to trace or give a logical explanation of how and where it begins or at what point will it end. Say, for instance, a random gesture of well-being, however trivial might give another person a feeling of great relief and we may not even realize the kind of joy or respite our small gesture would provide that person.
What does kindness mean?
That is the thing about life I always feel. Kindness is an emotion which comes from within. Going by the dictionary synonyms any act that constitutes affection, altruism, benevolence, cordiality, courtesy, forbearance, gentleness, grace, hospitality, patience, solicitude, humanity, sympathy, tolerance and any other such act which falls within the framework of kindness. Acts of kindness are important because they have the potential to make the world a better place, a much happier place. Along with boosting feelings of confidence, optimism and happiness they also encourage others to repeat the good deeds they have experienced themselves, thereby contributing to a more positive community in society.
Practising kindness both towards other people as well as towards our own selves too can make us experience positive mental as well as physical changes by lowering our stress levels and also increasing our body’s production of feel-good hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin as well as serotonin.
Importance of being kind to your own self
Whilst kindness is an extremely important trait, self-compassion too has been linked with the concept of cultivating a growth mindset. If one can treat their own self with kindness and understanding, they are more likely to forgive themselves as a part of the learning to evolve ad become the best version of themselves.
When one becomes kind and forgiving, thereby comes the drive and the motivation to avoid repeating previous mistakes and improve one’s life condition and life living.
Our Elders as an initiator for teaching and imbibing kindness within us
As a child, I always used to wonder why my Nani Ma or Dadi Ma make me do a particular thing every now and then or why my Dadaji or Nanaji specified certain life lessons to be surely incorporated as part of my life living. As time passed and I grew up I realized the importance of these valued teachings and also these habits which were inculcated as a part of my daily routine. It is pretty simple actually. My elders be it my grandparents or even others, all of them wanted me to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Aka following the golden rule of life living. Although followed as a daily habit to be executed dutifully at that point in time, slowly but gradually they surely have become a part of my daily culture and eventually my disposition.
Daily acts of Kindness I learned from both sets of my Grandparents
So, today I thought of sharing with you some daily acts of kindness which I have learnt from my grandparents and which I feel, you all too should incorporate into yourself and especially in the younger generation:
Donating your clothes and toys to the less fortunate
This was something that was one of the first things to be taught to us as simply learning the dictum “sharing is caring” is not enough. One needs to understand the fact that especially for those who do not have the luxury of new clothes and toys, a little bit of “sharing” from your side even if it is in the form of used clothes and toys can make a huge difference to these people. As a habit, I still do this every time I roll over my wardrobe and try to right-size my stuff.
Feeding stray animals
As children, we were always encouraged to often feed a stray animal or two compulsorily every day as my grandma especially used to say that we as human beings, as the more intelligent species are responsible for the welfare of all animals as well as natural resources alike. Thus, it is a customary thing for me even today to send across a roti for the stray dog in our lane. I also have a habit of feeding crows the breakfast prepared at my place, the first thing in the morning courtesy of an age-old habit again picked up from my grandad.
Spending time with elders
Old age is a challenge, I sincerely feel. Yes, it is not easy to manage oneself always as you move on with age. At such a time, what a person needs the most is company and compassion, unfortunately, either of which people do not give elders as they just don’t seem to be having either for them.
My uncle used to always stress the fact that one should give at least 15 minutes of their day, every day to sit and have a chat with the elders of their house, asking them about how they spent their day and so on. He strongly also insisted on the aspect that comes what may, dinner time is family time and all should compulsorily have it together so that the elders of the house feel the connectivity too.
Giving away my seat on a crowded bus or train
Coz you never know how much of a challenge the other person might be facing and giving them a seat could be the best respite you offer someone from a tough day they might otherwise be facing. Even 10 minutes of relief is actually equal to 10 hours worth especially if the bus or train is crowded. My grandma in fact used to always insist on giving ladies the first preference as she strongly felt that ladies tend to ignore their overall well-being, being caregivers for others in their families and hence should be given the first priority in this case.
Do Charity/Donate to the poor
Many times, clothes and books might not be enough. We must try and give a small amount of money too, as those who are poor might be able to put that money to vital use. My grandad especially used to make me bifurcate my savings periodically into “savings” and “donations” so that I learnt the habit of charity right at an early age.
Try and make another person smile to make their day
A trait, again I fondly associate with my grandma, she used to strongly say “Even if you make a single person smile each day that’s a huge achievement as you are making an entire family or even a community happier as you have infected them all with the positivity of that one single person whom you gave that smile.” The golden rule of my life and golden words indeed!
Making a little extra food every day and sending it to the poor/needy
Again, an act of charity, this is still a habit I follow even years after I was taught this one as this was a habit which forms one of the oldest teachings I can remember. It is even written in our holy scriptures that a couple of fistfuls cooked extra surely will go to the most fruitful use as they will be vital enough to feed and fill the stomach of those for whom even a few morsels of food are unavailable.
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Of course, in the end, the most essential act of all aka forgiveness is one of the biggest acts of kindness one can ever undertake. Forgiving another not only frees them but also frees you, as a person from carrying that excess emotional baggage you might be harbouring against the other. I feel that letting go of things and forgetting the happenings of the past is something we all should be imbibing and also practising as a life habit.
So, these were some of the daily acts of kindness I learnt from my grandparents and thought of sharing with you all today. Hope you guys liked reading this one as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you all. Stay tuned with us right here at Booxoul, for the best in the field of entertainment, lifestyle, food, finance, fun, fashion, tech and gadgets as well as all things bookish.
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Donating old clothes every time you buy a new pair for yourself is a habit that I have been following and have passed on to my children as well.
That is really a good habit you have imparted to your children too Geethica.
The value of being kind to yourself and forgiveness is greater than anything else!
Absolutely Suchita! There is no greater gift than kindness which you can give your own self.