Ironically enough, as I was sitting at my desk last Friday, reading an article on Tiny Buddha posted by Caroline Harper titled “You Don’t Need to Do Big Things to Change the World” … I heard a knock at the office door. When I opened it, there was a woman standing there who looked like she was in a state of panic.
She wondered if someone had come into the office looking for a set of keys. “Not that I know of” I responded, “ but if you want, you can leave the keys here; or tell me a brief description of them in case someone does come in. That way we can figure out who they belong to”. She thought this was a great idea and proceeded to tell me the vehicle logo that was engraved into the keys. “Funny” I thought to myself, because that was the make of the car I drive. She then went on to describe the other keys on the key-chain, and that’s when I realized, they sounded so much like my keys, because they WERE my keys.
I stood there with my mouth agape feeling incredibly foolish, and lucky. How had I not even realized that I had lost my keys?
Instantly, my mind wandered to how fortunate I was that this woman had been concerned enough to find the owner of the keys. The scariest part was that she told me she found them RIGHT by the tires of my car. Not only was the make of my car written on the key itself- but it was right next to it! Anyone who decided to pick up those keys and unlock my car could have just as easily drove off in it.
After finding my keys, this perfect stranger had gone door-to-door within the office building and asked each person who opened their door whether or not they had any idea if someone had lost a set of keys. With no resentment towards me for misplacing my keys (which in turn inevitably impeded on her plans), but with a genuine concern that they return to their rightful owner, this woman had saved me from a world of trouble and worry.
What (to this stranger) felt like a small act of kindness… spared me from having to call a tow-company to come get my car that I couldn’t get into, and from having to call a friend to drive across town and hope that they’d be able to get me within the next few hours, AND from having to call the dealership for an extra set of keys… OR even worse, the cops because someone found my keys sitting right in front of my car and decided “finders keepers“… was exactly what prevented me from having a horrible day.
Sometimes we forget that the little things DO matter. Something as simple as holding the door for someone, giving out genuine compliments, or trying to return a lost item– may seem small to us (as the person performing the act), but may make all the difference to the person on the other end.
Which brings me back to Caroline’s article about how important those little acts of kindness are. As she mentioned,
when you really get down to it, to “change the world” means to make a change to better one person’s world. By helping one person feel special, loved, and important, you are changing the world for one individual at a time.
And she’s right! The woman who found my keys could have just as easily walked right past them and carried on with her day- but she didn’t. Instead, she went out of her way to make another person’s day; and I am so grateful for that. So, the next time you start to get down on yourself because maybe you’re not exactly where you wish you were in life, or feel as if your contributions to the world are not what they should be- how about you focus on what you ARE contributing to the world?
More often than not, we are our own biggest critics. It can be therapeutic to sit down and reflect on all of the good you do. And, if after reflecting, you still don’t feel as if you’re doing enough… start thinking of things you can do!
No act of kindness is too small. That friendly smile you gave to the person you passed at the supermarket the other day may have influenced them to do the same to another. Spreading happiness is much like a ripple effect- it just takes one droplet to start the chain.
Are you struggling with self-defeating thoughts or showing kindness to others in your life, or simply feel that you do not as you should? Sometimes having a partner in your journey can help. Give us a call to set up a free phone consultation at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7378, and one of our Orlando Individual Counselors, Orlando Life Coaches, Orlando Teen Counselors, and Orlando Child counselors would be more than happy to help you, a family member, or a friend work on changing your life.