My sister sent me an email the other day with a link to this webpage that showed random acts of kindness. Many touched me and it got me thinking about the role such acts can play in our well being. When we are struggling with an eating disorder there can often be very little brightness in our day-to-day lives. We may do a lot for people, sometimes out of requirement, others out of self imposed obligation, but often we are attached to those people in some capacity whether it be through work or a personal relationship. Giving to strangers can offer us an entirely different experience as the purpose in doing so is simply to be kind.
As I write this, know that before anything else it is important to engage in self directed acts of kindness. That aside, it can be a beautiful thing to give to others and doing so can change our perspective, whether it be for a moment or a lifetime. The act of giving can give more in return than it takes. It can take us out of our head and remove some of the darkness by replacing it with moments of joy. When it comes to these acts they can be as big or as small as you choose and to make this point I am going to tell you a story.
I have a client who, when in high school, shared a class with a girl whose locker was near hers. She didn’t know the girl outside of recognizing her from class but she used to smile at her every time she saw her because she looked a lot like her boyfriend’s sister. She really didn’t think twice about it until the end of the year when she was called into the office. When she got there she was given a card by the secretary with her name on it, inside it said “I want to say thank you for everything – when I first arrived at this school I was suicidal. Each day when you would smile at me in the hallway it gave me hope that life would get better. Thank you for saving my life. ”
The whole point in telling you this story is simply to say it is amazing how doing the smallest thing, whether that be smiling at a stranger, acknowledging the homeless person on the street, or buying someone’s coffee, can make a world of difference to them, and then vicariously to you. So I would encourage you, especially on your darkest days, to reach outside of yourself to someone you don’t know and do something kind, whatever that may be and feel the warmth that comes from it. It is easy in life to be cynical and to judge others but that usually does very little to bring you up and to make you experience moments of joy and happiness. Give of yourself today and at every moment possible and see how you feel as a result. Let me know what you have done in the comments section below. If you are looking for a little feel good moment, click on the link below to the website my sister sent me. I have no doubt it will bring some warmth to your Sunday!