I have a cut out on my office noticeboard that reads ‘Kindness is always fashionable.’ It came from a paper bag, ages ago, and it chimed with my experience when I saw it. It still makes me smile when it catches my eye..
As I looked up today, it brought to mind a visit to a pizza restaurant just over a year ago. I don’t often share personal stories given I’m a psychotherapist, but this one feels OK to share.
I took some of my family to the restaurant that day, and frankly we were having a bad day! Sleep deprived, grumpy, out of sorts...it was not the ideal day to be out and about, but hey, we were shopping for the festive season. Hunger necessitated a lunch out, so there we were.
After grumping at a member of staff for our long wait, I was feeling more than a little ashamed of myself. I went and apologised, and was relieved to be met with the kindest of responses. It made me feel just a little less bad, and made the lunch a calmer affair. When the bill came, I got a bigger surprise. It just read ‘This one’s on us.’ I couldn’t quite believe it, so I went and asked what was meant. The manager told me it was a discretion she was afforded, and she really thought I needed the break.
I learned a lot that day. It was a powerful reminder that it’s absolutely OK not to be OK. That other people can be generous and kind. That I was not alone and I didn’t have to do it all. After all, we all have bad days, and we can’t possibly always be at our best. We can meet others where they are, and choose not to judge, when we do, it makes a big difference.
A year on I want to say Thank You to those lovely staff at Dalton Park’s Pizza Express that day. Sadly the restaurant is no longer there. My memory of it is though, and it’s a powerful reminder not to judge, or assume, and to be kind, come what may.
How can you be kind today - both to yourself, and to other people, whether you know them or not?