Offsetting Mean

   Written by on May 18, 2017 at 9:36 am
Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin.  Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.

Does the news make you wonder what is happening in our world?  This week the news contained a series of stories about fights on airplanes, road rage, the effect of bullying on young kids, and a host of other bad news stories about people being mean to other people.  There is even a website called NewsNow: Bad News.  It lists the bad news stories by time of the news release: in the last 10 minutes, the last half-hour, then by the hour, by country and category of news.

Do you ever wonder what our world would be like if each of us was thoughtful to just one person each day?  How would the atmosphere in your office change?  What would the mood at school be like if everyone did one kind thing to one student?  Would the ambiance at the mall be different if everyone’s number one priority was to show kindness?

How many people start their day with the idea of finding ways to show kindness?  That means being proactive in finding ways to show consideration to someone with whom you come in contact.  Proactive means spending time during your day looking for someone for whom you can do a favor.

It is easy to be so caught up in our world that we only focus on ourselves.  How many times do you say to yourself, I am too busy to worry about that issue or that person’s problem?  My schedule is completely jammed.  I can’t help; the kids have practice.  Did you read Pilgrim’s Progress in high school?  Remember what John Bunyan wrote: “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone that cannot pay you back.”

Showing kindness does not have to include a big gesture.  Many times, it’s the little things, which add a feeling of relief and kindness to a person’s day.  For example, how much time would it take you to slow down and let a car move in front of you.  When you are walking into the store, do you offer to take someone’s empty cart back for him or her?  How many times have you taken almost the last cup of coffee at work and not taken the time to make a new pot of coffee?

It is probably not the time it takes to show small acts of kindness that is the issue; it may be that you are not being sensitive to those around you.  You can miss an opportunity to show kindness by not listening.  Did your kids complain about having to study for a test?  The next morning, tell them you know they will do well on the test.  Is the garbage full? Take a minute to empty the trashcan and put in a new trash bag.  Julia Alvarez points out, “The point is not to pay back kindness but to pass it on.”

Now ask yourself, how would life change if your focus on showing thoughtfulness extended to your family?  How would your kids react if you started and ended each day with a kind, supportive word?  What would your mother or dad do if you found a way once a day to say thank you?  How would your spouse’s attitude change if you started your conversations with a gentle, kindhearted comment?

Our world, that is our coworkers, family and friends, needs to see us being kind.  Yes, actions do speak louder than words.  Our actions include how we use our time and what we say.  You may not get what you think is an immediate benefit for your actions.  Yes, if you let somebody in traffic in front of you, you may never see that person again.  However, there is a benefit.  Your family, friends, and the people around you will see your kindness.  You may never know what positive effect you have.  “Some believe it is only great power that can keep evil in check, but that is not what I’ve found.  I found it is the small things, everyday deeds by ordinary people that the keeps darkness at bay,” as said by Gandalf.

With every opportunity, we should do good to people.  Galatians 6:10

Call us with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions; our phone number is 434-808-2637.

About Cheryl & Dennis Gowin

Cheryl Gowin, Counselor and Dennis Gowin, Director of Discovery Counseling Center. Contact us with your feedback, comments, issues or questions at 434-808-2426 or dgowin@discoverycounseling.org.

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