This is a post by Lady Pammela Cleveland, founder of God’s Random Acts of Kindness Ministries. She is an inspiring minister, speaker, writer, poet, and kindness lifestyle coach who uses her own healing and recovery experiences from emotional, physical, mental, and sexual abuse to encourage healing in emotionally damaged men, women, and children.
I remember years ago, there was a woman who really gave me a hard time. She did any and everything she could to be mean to me. She would make mean comments and remarks about me, exclude me from group gatherings, and every nice gesture I did for her, she would turn it around to make it look as though I was doing something to hurt her.
One day, I heard through the grapevine, that she and her husband were having a really hard time with work, finances, and they needed some food. It saddened my heart to hear this news, so I went to the store and bought groceries for their home.
Risking her mean confrontation, I drove to her house and knocked on her door. She opened the door with a puzzled look on her face but didn’t say anything. I gave her the biggest smile and then I said, “I just wanted to bring this by for you and your family.”
She stood there for a moment and eventually took the groceries. I got in my car and left.
Did that change anything? Not right away, but a few months later she called to thank me and wanted to meet to talk.
We met at a local restaurant and as we began to talk, she said “You know..I couldn’t stand you. You got on my last nerve being so nice to everybody. I just knew you weren’t real. But you know, you never changed!”
She went on to add that everybody she’d ever met like me never lasted this long. They always retaliated back somehow but it puzzled her that I never did. She began to share that because I never returned evil for evil it made her take a long look at herself.
She admitted she didn’t like what she saw. She shared her story of many hurts, fears, disappointments and let downs.
I could relate because I had experienced many myself.
Today, that woman is one of the most compassionate and kindest people you’ll ever meet. She wasn’t an unkind person because she wanted to be. She just hadn’t met anyone who re-ignited the kindness in her yet.
The thing that kept me focused to continue to give her kindness was when I remembered the times I didn’t deserve kindness for something I said or did but received it anyway. Also, as I selflessly continued to give my kindness away, it helped her to heal and me too.
I learned in that experience that kindness isn’t just for others but it is for us too.
I also realized that a person’s mean behavior has nothing to do with me. However, my kindness and how I choose to give and receive it has everything to do with me.
Keep in mind that kindness is sometimes choosing to look past someone’s fault and meeting their needs.
Hurting, mad and angry people are really disappointed people. Nobody is born this way. We grow up and we sometimes forget to be kind.
How do we get kindness back?
- Change the way you see kindness. See kindness as a gift that you are really giving away to yourself.
- Choose in that moment to remember a time in your life when you were either angry, hurt, or disappointed, and said or did something out of line, yet received kindness anyway.
- Take that same kindness you received and give it to that person. While you are giving away this kindness to that person, I challenge you to not see the person you’re giving it to, but to see yourself receiving it instead.
- Remember what it felt like when you received the kindness and what it felt like when you didn’t.
At any moment that you do not feel like being kind, let these memories become your inspiration. Use the not-so-kind people’s experience to sharpen this gift of kindness in you.
Choose to get rid of your old perception of kindness and grab hold to this new one! This experience has helped me so much in my ministry of kindness that I am convinced that it will help you too!