A long time ago, a client told me something that really stuck with me. She told me about the moment after her mother had passed away when she was driving home from the hospital. She drove about 30km per hour all the way home with people honking and shouting at her as they passed. I think of that now when I'm on the road and someone is driving slow or looks stressed or sad at an intersection. Has something bad happened to them? Are they going through a divorce? Have they lost their job? Is their child sick?
When I think back to that story, it makes me look at things differently. Don't get me wrong, I still get frustrated when I'm stuck behind the slowest driver in Wollongong but I do my best to take a step back before I react badly because I don't know what situation the driver might be in.
We can be quick to judge, we can be quick to condemn and we can be quick to form an opinion but let's face it, we have never walked in someone else's shoes. I've been short with a cashier or death stared someone that took my parking spot and it's been at times when I'm anxious or stressed about something. The thing is, that version of Alyssa is not who I really am but the cashier who doesn't know me from Joe Blow thinks it is.
It's easy to show kindness but it's just as easy to show contempt when we're busy, stressed out and time poor. "I wouldn't have done that" or "I don't have time for this crap" or "if that was me." I'm far from perfect when it comes to judging others; in a split second I form an opinion about someone and that's human nature but what I am trying to do is look at things in a different light.
There are assholes out there, don't get me wrong; people who don't deserve your loving smile or an understanding pat on the back but if we can rise about the assholes of the world, it actually makes us better (and happier) people. The people in my life who stand out the most are the ones who are kind. Intelligence, bravery, looks, charm, humour; these are all memorable qualities but kindness is what stands out to me. We don't all have the funniest jokes or the best vocabulary but we can all be kind. Every single one of us. So as we head towards 2019, that's what I want to be. Maybe a little fitter, maybe a little more tanned but most of all, a little more kind.
Here's to a wonderful year ahead friends and Merry Christmas, Alyssa xx