AN ORDINARY DIFFERENCE

AN ORDINARY DIFFERENCE

Sometimes, it really is only a little thing that can make a big difference.  A genuine smile may brighten someone’s day.  A kind word or a sincere expression of appreciation can help somebody keep on going through tough times.

“Loving-kindness” was what the Tibetan Buddhist crazy wisdom master Chogyam Trungpa Rimpoche used to call it, and for him and his students it was a most pertinent practice.  It helps alleviate the suffering in the world, the old masters all say.

CLICHÉ-ALERT

And, yeah:  It’s a cliché.  But that’s the thing about clichés…often they are just old truths that we need to keep telling each other as reminders.

It’s often really, really little, this loving-kindness thing.  It’s pretty much ordinary and every-day.  Still, loving-kindness is the best way us humans have for connecting with each other.

The original story by Elizabeth Silance Ballard was first published in a 1974 issue of Home Life magazine as “Three Letters from Teddy.”  Over the next three decades it spread, even making an appearance in one of the CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL books.  It is a good story.

WHAT IF…?

Here’s another video produced by the Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, Arkansas that was published on YouTube by Sarheed Jewels in 2011.  It asks:  What if you could see other people’s problems?  How would that affect you?

SEED THOUGHTS

One of the loveliest online sites about loving-kindness in action is the one put up by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (RAK), a group of educators and community leaders led by Gary Dixon who are all dedicated to the proposition that us humans are meant to go around spreading warm fuzzies.  Their mission is to encourage you to go forth and be kind.

The RAKtivists believe that kindness is teachable and contagious.  They can point to a lot of scientific evidence that seems to validate the fact that doing kind things is actually very good for your own health.

Among the findings they highlight are the following facts:

  • Kindness produces oxytocin, the “love hormone.”  Oxytocin, in turn causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide which dilates the blood vessels.  This aids in lowering blood pressure and helps protect the heart  increasing overall heart-health.
  • Harvard Business School did a survey of happiness in 136 countries in 2010 that found that people who were generous financially were happiest overall.
  • People who volunteer tend to experience fewer ache and pains.  One study showed that people 55 and older who volunteered for two or more organizations were at 44 percent more likely to live longer.  Other studies have shown that engaging in acts of kindness produces endorphins – the brain’s natural painkiller.
  • There’s a thing called the “helper’s high,” according to research from Emory University, that is a consequence of the fact that often when you’re kind to someone else your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up. Maybe that’s because acts of kindness apparently stimulate the feel-good anti-depressant serotonin, which helps to heal wounds, calm you and make you happy.

So…here’s one other benefit to the whole kindness thing:  When you’re kind to somebody else, it just naturally bounces back on you.  And isn’t that a very good thing?

i-give-you-all-i-can
“I Give You All I Can….” by Brandon Warren via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]
Here’s a poem:


I PROMISED ME

 

No one ever promised

That life would always be true and fair

Or that there’d be a shelter from the storm,

A warm fire waiting there,

That happy would perch on your head

And belt out one more song,

That reaching out a solid hand

Would find other fingers reaching, just as strong,

That doing good and being kind

Would bring goodness and kindness back,

That celebrating and taking joy

Can disassemble any lack.

 

No one’s ever promised that

‘Cept for some god-mad fool or three.

Now I’m sitting here remembering that

Once upon a time,

Those were all things I promised me.


Header picture credit:  “Be Kind….” by Kate Ter Haar via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

Thanks for stopping by.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below and tell me your thoughts.

Save

Save

Get Social....

10 thoughts on “AN ORDINARY DIFFERENCE

  1. Such a lovely post. The first video almost bought tears to my eyes! I’m a great believer of what goes around comes around. Teaching my child to learn that even a smile is charity and can make someone’s day and to treat others how you want to be treated.

    It’s great when science shows us what is naturally innate within us – to be kind to others. Reading this has made me feel happier. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your visit and for your lovely comment, Teresa.  I’m glad it moved you.  Please do come again!

  2. This is so true. Kindness has benefits all around. I have noticed, however, that people almost seem to be afraid of being kind. They may be afraid of being taken advantage of or having someone spurn their kindness.

    I believe that this is because our society doesn’t value kindness enough.
    What do you think? Have you noticed people who seem almost afraid of being kind?

    1. Thanks for your visit and your comments.  Probably part of the problem is that in our culture kindness may be seen as a sign of “weakness” and vulnerability…or maybe that’s just our fear talking.  Hmmm….

      Please do come again. 

  3. Interesting piece. I’m always of the opinion of not judging people by their actions because there’s a whole lot going on in that person’s life at that moment that you have no idea about, so it’s best to always treat them nice, who knows, your kind gesture might just be what they need to get out of that situation. 

    1. Dhayours, thank you for your visit and for sharing your comments.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again.

  4. What a good read before my bed time. I have this one friend, everytime we go out to eat we always fight to pay for the bill. She said, “Don’t you dare take that happiness from me.” 

    I asked her why.  She said that she feels good when she gives someone something and if I intervene then I steal the happiness away from her. lol What a great line! 

    It is in us all to be giving and when we do we feel good about ourselves and other things will just follow 😁

    1. I do agree with you, Nuttanee, and I like your friend’s thought as well!  

      Thanks for your visit and for sharing your story.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again….

  5. This inspirational story of Teddy and his teacher is one of my all-time favorites. And it still makes me cry everytime I read or watch it told. I’d say it is a story worth retelling as the message to and impact on hearers remain the same.

    Nobody should have to tell us how a small act of kindness like a smile, a simple “thank you” or “how are you doing today?” can make a big difference in the lives of others. I believe we have been designed to care for one another, unless something else happened that made us behave just the exact opposite.

    I find it interesting that you mentioned how the love hormone oxytocin is released as a result of an act of kindness. If we could all just learn to be more caring and kind not only to those who are nice to, what an ordinary difference that would make.

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Alice.  I am really glad you enjoyed the post. 

      I agree with you that we should not need to be reminded that simple kindnesses do make such a big difference in our lives, but the press of everyday does make us forget, I think.  

      Please do come again….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)