I have never in my life understood prejudice. We are all the same. We are all born into the world dependant on others to learn, to live. We are all individuals, important to the people in our lives. Each person has feelings, some wear them on their sleeve while others hide them behind a tough exterior. Each of us have people and things that are important to us. That mean everything to us. We all have strengths and weaknesses, good qualities and bad but we are all the same. Individuals looking for acceptance, understanding, kindness and happiness.
I had lunch with a friend who went to the same elementary school as me. She asked if I knew why I was picked on so much when we were younger. She remembers the relentless bullying I received through out the years. I hadn’t thought about that part of school for a long time. I hated myself when I was younger so it didn’t surprise me that others hated me too. It was the people that were good to me that remain stamped in my heart and memory. The few wonderful friends I did have and how much they got me through. I have grown to appreciate their friendship and kindness more as I have grown older. I have reconnected with most of those dear friends through Facebook. And though we may not talk often they are forever in my heart as friends.
As I look at other stressful times of my life and reflect on them it is always the kindness of others that I am impressed by. Even the worst, most dark horrible times in life can be changed into a memory of love and kindness by the people around us. When my daughter was first born and spend months in NICU before coming home and when my brother was in ICU or after his passing it is the amazing kindness of others, the loving care of some nurses, orderlies, respiratory therapists and other staff who went above and beyond to comfort them and our entire family. The warm embrace and support of friends that did all they could to give strength.
It is the acts of kindness and support that patients and their families will remember and appreciate. Not how well staff changed the bed or whether they put the wash basin back in the night stand. It will be whether I was there to hold their hand if they needed me or whether I cared about their comfort and feelings.
When huge disasters happen in neighbourhoods or tragedy strikes we are the same. No matter where the neighbourhood is, no matter what the tragedy is. Those going through it are all the same. It is kindness, support, comfort and love that we need. For some it might be a personal crisis of health or family or career. It might be a national crisis or world crisis like 9/11, hurricane Katrina, the water crisis and health crisis of communities and nations. We are all the same. It is kindness, support and comfort that we seek. It is those things that carry us through and touch our hearts and change our lives more than the crisis itself. Whether we receive kind and loving acts or we don’t affects how we come out the other side of it and how our lives are shaped by the difficulties we face.
There have been studies done that have shown that an act of kindness positively affects the brain and mood of all those involved. Endorphins are released in the brain just by witnessing an act of kindness….endorphins improve the mood. Think how much happier the world would be if each and every person performed, received and witnessed acts of kindness all day. We are the same. We are all capable of being kind and we all crave and physically, spiritually and emotionally need kindness in our lives when things around us fall apart.