Have you ever met someone whose reaction to every situation is to be offended? Life is short and the relationships we have with other people are meant to help us enjoy our walk through our one and only life. How can enjoy life with others if they or we are constantly looking for a reason to be angry? When I was growing up my parents always told us to be kind to others for we never knew what was going on in another person’s life on the inside. They told us if they are acting mean on the outside they just might be hurting on the inside. I can understand their reasoning and I have tried to instill the same thought process in my children as they were growing up.
In the past few years I’ve noticed that there seem to be more people who are easily offended. It doesn’t take doing something in the wrong way to offend them sometimes it’s the omission of doing something that sets them off. I think that this behavior is an outward sign of how self-centered our society has become in the past couple of decades. Its the whole “What are you going to do for me and what have you done for me lately” mentality. How did we get here and how do we turn this train around? We are not better for it.
The 2000 movie Pay it Forward starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, Haley Joel Osment in which a young boy stumbles upon a simple way to change the world had a lot of things right. The focus has to move from us to the rest of the world. We have to think of ways to improve the lives of those around us for the world as a whole to be a better place. Before this can start we have to start with ourselves. If everything is about us then that is all we are seeing. We need to get beyond that point. I’m not saying we have to head out into the world miles from our home for this. It can begin in our own homes by demonstrating manners and politeness. In my childhood days it was called minding your P’s and Q’s. I think that has gone by the wayside.
It can begin just be doing something unexpected to make someone else’s day just a little better. Is there someone at work or home that normally does a specific job? Is it something you could do for that person? At work I can empty another’s trashcan, clean the bathroom, surprise them with a candy bar on their desk or just remember to replace the toilet paper if I used the last of it. You may run into someone who will take offense if you do one of these things because instead of appreciating the kindness they may think you that you think they aren’t doing their job instead of trying to be kind. Ouch! Proceed cautiously but do it anyway.
At home try to make kindness prevail. When I do the laundry at home I don’t just do mine but gather everyone elses as well. It’s not something I would have to do because I have two grown children living at home and they are fully capable of doing their own laundry. What I have found is that if I make the extra effort to make their life easier they have done the same to make mine easier. I come home from work some days with meals made and the kitchen already cleaned. Kindness is contagious and it feels great.