The older I get, the less easily I am impressed. Gone are the days when I got really excited by a grand-slam home run in a baseball game, or envy a friend’s beautiful new piece of jewelry, or even believe that winning the lottery would be the nicest thing that could ever happen to me. It’s not that I don’t enjoy those things anymore, because I do. (Note to my readers: if one of you ever does win the lottery and are looking for someone to share all that loot, I’ll gladly step up.) It’s just that I have gotten to the point where I no longer find those things particularly impressive.
More and more, I find myself paying attention to, and often admiring, not so much what people have or what they do, but how they treat others. It’s wonderful when a professional athlete is able to help his team win an important game, but it’s impressive when he uses his fame to help out a worthy cause. It’s great when the new company that someone has poured their heart and soul into finally takes off and makes a lot of money, but it’s impressive when the owner of that company uses their money to give back to the community and create opportunities for others to succeed as well.
I especially admire people who are thoughtful and generous towards others when no one is looking and when they have nothing to gain from their kindness. I will always be grateful to the surgeon who operated on my husband’s knee, because after the operation was over, he took the time to come into the waiting room and not only tell me everything went well, but also to sit down beside me and ask if I had any questions. I’m sure he had a very busy schedule that day, but he acted as if he had all the time in the world to reassure an anxious spouse. It was a small kindness, but at the time, it made all the difference.
It’s not always easy to be kind, especially when we are bombarded with things on the news, social media, etc. that make us frustrated, angry and afraid. And it’s hard to be kind when we’re rushing through our days, trying to keep up with our hectic schedules. But often in life, what is hard is also exactly what needs to be done. We may not be able to solve all the world’s problems, or even fix all the issues in our own lives, but what we can do is remember that kindness truly does help make things better. And to do our best to practice it as often as we possibly can.
And when we are able to be kind, and when we are able to treat others with the same degree of compassion and tolerance that we want shown to us, then that is truly impressive. Each and every time we do it.