The title of this article is obvious. I feel like it’s common sense to be kind to others. But this goes a little deeper than that. It’s going out of your comfort zone to help others, even if it feels a little awkward. And since I feel like I’m not making much sense, let me explain with a story:
My mom is one of the most giving, generous people I have ever met. She has gone out of her way to help others in need, whether it be someone she knows or a stranger. She helped many people that were totally grateful for her generosity, though of course sometimes people didn’t appreciate the gesture. One time she bought a stranger in a store something that she overheard the woman admiring but couldn’t afford. When my mom gave it to her she was completely insulted and threw it back at my mom (literally threw it back at her). I feel like after that I might not feel like “surprising” people with little gifts anymore, but it didn’t stop her. She continued to help others, and most of the time it did go well.
I tell you this story because today I had to do something out of my comfort zone, at the urging at my mother. There was a girl who works at the store my mom frequents who was normally quite bubbly, but the last few times my mom saw her she was extremely sad. They had chatted a few times before this, so my mom asked her if she was doing alright. The girl confessed she was very depressed for a number of reasons. My mom told her she was going to buy her The Power of Now, and hoped it would help.
Today we dropped off the book and I had to buy a few groceries. When we were walking out my mom told me I should give her my number, just in case she didn’t have anyone else to talk to since we were around the same age. My ego flooded my mind with reasons that idea was stupid:
“That’ll be so awkward, she doesn’t even know you, what is she going to think?”
“Is she going to think you are trying to “save” her?”
“Is she going to think you’re trying to pick her up?”
“What if she thinks you’re weird?”
All of which are valid and very much could have gone through her head. But that’s not the point. I ended up writing my number down on a small paper bag and gave it to her, in case she wanted anymore suggestions of books to read, and I was like “I know this is probably awkward since I don’t know you.”
Maybe she thought I was a nut or maybe it helped her or maybe she didn’t even think of it again. But my ego wanting to retain it’s delicacy was far less important than helping someone that may have needed it. You could feel how sad this girl was. Her energy was so thick and she looked like she was close to tears while doing her work. So, if you see someone that is in pain, whether you know them or not, reach out and try to help in the best way you can, even if it’s small. Don’t be scared how it’ll make you (or your ego) look, because doing something for someone in need is far more important.
I’m not writing this to be like “hey look at me I did something good” because honestly I still feel a little awkward about it. But we are all in this together. We can’t just turn away and pretend we don’t see others who are suffering. You have to have the courage to get the nerve up to ask someone if they are doing alright. 99.9% of the time I’m sure they will greatly appreciate it.