Small Kindnesses

I try – try being the key word – to keep a positive outlook and healthy perspective on life. 

One of the ways I keep positive is by expressing my emotions – somehow I find that when I get something off my chest, even if it is not always positive to express what I feel, the end result is that I *feel* positive.  This blog is a wonderful outlet for me – it’s my patch where now and then I can write down EXACTLY how I feel about something. When I publish those thought and they are live on this site, I feel cleansed. 

I also periodically get rid of things (and people) that add negative to my life – a cleanse so to speak.  I reflect on the things in my life that take away time from what I enjoy doing.  I try to understand the things that consume more energy than they leave me with.  And I identify the things that irritate rather than enhance my daily life.  And then I just get rid of them – I step back from volunteering commitments, I reshape the way my online social networks to bring to me a more positive focus, I prioritise my time so that I can focus on the positive and uplifting parts of life, I throw away the paperwork and magazines that accummulate but add nothing to my life except mess. (The last point – the paperwork point – that is a constant battle!)

And finally, I make the time to focus on the small things. I try to pop postcards in the mail to people, to thank them for things or to just brighten days.  I try to take a step back to be thankful for the things that life has brought me – no matter how small.  And I always make sure I have things within my line of sight at work that are reminders of the small things that people have done for me – little things that made me smile, tokens that represent acts of kindness given exactly when I needed them.

On my desk at work, just next to my phone, are two of those little reminders.

The first, a Garfield from my colleague Yves.  I started working with my current employer in 2004 and it was a major culture shock for me.  Although I was in the same industry, doing a role that I was familiar with, the corporate culture was so different to my previous employer.  I spent many a day questioning my choice to move – it was a tough period of adjustment.  Yves was with me one evening as I broke down after a business meeting, questioning my choices.  And then, the next time I saw him, he pulled with a grand flourish his bag this Garfield.  “Donna, just remember, you will soon adjust.  Nothing is really ever as bad as it initially seems.”

“Nothing is really ever as bad as it initially seems.”

Such great words.  Garfield, with his cheesy hear shaped “cheer up” sign, reminds me of Yves’ wisdom every day at work.

The second is a little container of Wite-Out.  I know, you are thinking: “Why on earth would Wite-Out be something to make you smile?”

In May of this year my friend John decided to join me at the USA Paratriathlon Nationals, to be my tri-sherpa for the weekend and to come and support me at the race.  I was a bundle of nerves, and when John arrived he quickly asked: “Is there anything I can do to help?” I dispatched him to the local drug store to pick up some wite-out, as I was worried about whether or not I would mess up putting my ankle braces on in transition, and I figured with a little Wite-Out would be the perfect way to do that.

John never asked why, and considering I made the request within the first 5 minutes of our first ever face-to-face meeting, he must have thought me crazy.  But without question he turned pitched in and indulged my request.  His offer to help and his never-questioning attitude removed one element of uncertainty from my race, it erased one bit of anxiety from my life.  That Wite-Out reminds me every day, as I sit at my desk at work, that small gestures can mean so much to people and that they should never be reserved for “special” friends but given out freely and selflessly.

What do you do to add to the positive in your life?  Do you surround yourself with memories of the small kindnesses you have received?

This post is one of many done on 27 November 2012 to celebrate Small Kindnesses, and to help author Fiona Robyn with the re-launch of her book of the same name.

To learn more about Fiona’s book, please jump on her blog or click onto Amazon where you can download the Kindle version for free on 27 November.

2 responses to “Small Kindnesses”

  1. I like this very much. I think it is very easy to focus on the negative; especially in social media and online. I reshaped my social media networks earlier in the year to remove the negative focus and it is one of the best things I’ve done this year. I’ve also found new positive people through social media more recently. And that has made a huge difference to how I feel.

  2. Hi Donna,

    Happy Small Kindness day!

    I love your act of popping small thank you postcards into the post, I’m sure each one brightens somebody’s day!

    The story of your friend John was nice to read, the detail of him not even questioning your request is so charming.


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