It is the small gestures given
freely that help inspire compassion
in ones self and others. We need
more of this in our world.
You are so right about this, and never is this more apparent to me than when I "accidentally' give them, which has happened a number of times in the past few years.
The first time was when I went into the health food store I frequent. There used to be this man there my sis and I called the 'angel' -- he was seriously just like a 1950's movie version of the hapless, goodhearted type angel you see in movies of that era who was sent to earth to perform a task (and usually rather clumsily). Anyway, he just had the sweetest aura about him, but he was not very good at customer service, as he would get completely lost in telling you something and not note the disgruntled line forming behind you. I found this to be part of his charm, but I guess the owner did not, and he was eventually fired (probably someone complained).
My sis and I were doubley grieved about this, as his replacement was this very unhealthy-looking, dour grumpy man, who never smiled and had a complexion the color of ash. You could never engage him in any kind of pleasant conversation he was just shut down and trying his hardest to wall out the world.
Anyway, I had not been in the store for many months, and I knew the 'Angel' had been gone for a long time, but for some reason when I walked in I saw the replacement and confused him with his predecessor and I got a huge grin on my face and exclaimed, "You're back!!" I was so pleased by this and my delight so obvious that HIS face immediately lit up, he even blushed a bit, and he mumbled something about only being gone for a week on vacation, which is precisely when I realized my mistake, but the entire countenance of this man was transformed from dour, closed-off, unapproachable to someone lit up, puffed up with a renewed sense of self-worth, and it made me realize how VERY little it took to change this man - a single, appreciative compliment. One that was inferred, even.
The rest of my visit he was smiling, chatty, very unlike his usual self, and I made a note then to always compliment this man in some way when I visit because it was painfully obvious he had little enough of that in his life and I frankly felt ashamed as a person that I had not provided this much sooner than I did.
The second time this happened was a bit more recently - A man I had previously only spoken to via telephone came by my office, I had always found him a tad pompous (lawyer), always impatient and self-important sounding on the phone. He happened in and when he told me his name I confused him with another man I speak to often on the phone but have never met, a man I quite enjoy who is very down to earth and likeable. So when he told me his name my face lit up and I stood up exclaiming how happy I was to meet him and he looked SHOCKED and then very very pleased that anyone could find him such a delight. Since that encounter, on the phone, he is always warm and personal and completely different from how he was previously and it made me realize that sometimes the folks that are the least friendly are the ones who are the most desperately in need of our warmth.
So yes, it takes so little to say a kind word, perform a kind gesture but what a DIFFERENCE it makes in the lives of others.
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