Today, I'm going to tell you a story about kindness, mistakes, and what it means to be human.
A few months ago, before we were married, Kiara and I were temporarily living in Los Angeles as we met with multiple clients for project meetings across the city. During that time, my older sister was away on a trip with her family, and offered to let Kiara and I stay at her apartment closer to downtown. A chance for us to play home and get some fresh air, we jumped on the opportunity and were over the next day.
Of course, it’s wonderful to stay in someone else’s home, playing house. We cooked dinners and watched movies and created art and words for this blog.
One day, however, things took a more southerly turn. It was a Monday, and we were parking inside the apartment complex gate. After a long and tiring day, I chose a spot that, unbeknownst to me, didn’t actually belong to me. I thought everything was completely fine, so we parked, walked upstairs, and went straight to sleep after our long day.
Many of you might know I’m an early riser and a coffee lover, so the next morning, I threw on a warm vest, walked downstairs in to the cool blue air, and walked to my car to find a car parked perfectly perpendicular to it. With no room to budge, the Subie was completely stuck. I reach for the note that was set on the back between the window and the windshield wiper:
“I GET OFF WORK AT 5AM! I'M TIRED. WAKE ME UP WHEN I CAN PARK IN MY PARKING SPOT. THANK YOU #93.”
Crap. I totally ruined someones day, and I felt horrible for it. I had no idea that the car spots at the complex were assigned. I grabbed the note and went searching for apartment 104, eventually finding it on the lower levels. I knocked softly, then, when no one came, I knocked a bit louder. Then louder. For 5 minutes, I knocked, feeling worse with each rap on the composite board door. The door finally opened, and a sleepy-eyed woman met me. She was in a paramedics uniform.
“Hey, I’m the one who parked in your spot. I’m so, so sorry. I’m headed out now, so if you’d like your spot back, it’s available. I’m sorry I woke you.”
“That’s okay, I have to be back at work in 20 minutes. I just got called in again. I’ll grab my keys.”
Okay, that could have gone way worse. She moved her car and I zipped out of the complex on my way to coffee.
She was so kind to me - even though I had completely ruined her night. I didn’t want to imagine the anger I would have felt after coming home from a long day of helping save people’s lives, only to find that my rest was going to be troubled, too. And whether it was the sleepiness behind her eyes or it was a genuine kind heart, she decided that yelling and screaming wasn’t the best way to handle her anger. Instead, with courtesy and kindness, she accepted my apology and moved on with her life.
How often is it so easy for us to focus on enwrapping ourselves in the bad things that happen? I talk about this issue with the morning news, and it’s also present on Facebook statuses, Snapchat stories, Twitter, and more. You get the idea. We want a reason to argue, especially on social media, because it can, at a subconscious level, make us feel important.
A recent [study] discovered a strong connection between Facebook and the brain’s reward center, called the nucleus accumbens. This area processes rewarding feelings about things like food, sex, money and social acceptance.
Simply put, it’s easy for us to talk about crap and feel negative about things. It’s much harder to fight for positivity and a mindset of abundance.
The way that woman treated the situation with so much grace and patience completely dismantled any reaction I was expecting from her. So I left to get my coffee, and while I was there, I picked up a gift card worth the same amount as a cup of coffee. I left it in the seal between the door and the frame. I didn’t need to do it, and I’m not sure if I would have if she wasn’t so kind to me. Human nature responds so beautifully to kindness - so much so that it encourages others to be kind, too.
The next time we’re confronted with a situation that could be negative and damaging to our hearts, accept it instead with kindness. We will do so much better to turn the negative comments and difficult situations in to chances for positivity and light, instead of blasting things on Facebook or Twitter (shout out to you, Donald.)
When we meet adversity with kindness, we create a new structure for our problems to exist within, and the problems have to conform, because kindness always wins.
Remember that the next time something bad happens. The next time you piss someone off. The next time you meet adversity.
Life is much better spent counting the happy moments than dwelling on the bad ones.
Buffer Post: https://blog.bufferapp.com/psychology-of-facebook
I'm on a mission to show that the light will always pierce through the darkness.