I’m a big believer in acts of kindness, no matter how small – Liam Neeson
Living In Two Extremes
In November 2015, our oldest daughter Esther was born. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. It was also one of the toughest seasons. As we celebrated the birth of our daughter, my mum, who traveled from Kenya to celebrate with us, developed heart complications. We spent a few days in emergency rooms, and she spent a night in a hospital as doctors tried to understand the reason for the elevated heart rate she experienced. Eventually, the cardiologist figured out the problem and provided a solution that required her to follow up with her doctor once she returned to Kenya.
After the doctor gave her the green light to travel, we booked her flight. As we went through the airport, I worried about my mum. The airline provided someone to assist her in getting to her connecting flights, but the worry did not subside until I met Mr. Maraga. As we waited for my mum’s flight to board,, Mr. Maraga and his work colleague introduced themselves and we struck up a conversation. As the boarding time drew near, our new friends insisted they would look after my mum as they were going to the same destination. They asked for nothing in return. Mr. Maraga and I exchanged phone numbers. My anxiety and stress levels dissipated and, a calmness came over me. I bid my mum goodbye and went home knowing she was in good hands.
Along the way, Mr. Maraga sent me Whatsapp messages informing me of their status. These messages kept me calm as I waited to hear the news that my mum had arrived home safely. His message came. Relief washed over me and gratitude for his act of kindness was my response.
Health Benefits of Kindness
What happens when kindness becomes a way of life and not just an event? According to the Mayo Clinic, a lifestyle of kindness is good for the body and mind. For the body, “it can decrease blood pressure, lower cortisol, the stress hormone that directly impacts stress level. Kindness can increase your sense of connectivity with others, which can directly impact loneliness, improve low mood, and enhance relationships in general.” For the mind, Mayo Clinic adds that kindness, “boosts serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters that give you feelings of satisfaction and well-being, and cause the pleasure/reward centers in your brain to light.”
A Superpower For All
From the above assessment, I conclude that kindness is a superpower readily available for use in any situation. The transformative impact of kindness is not only noticeable but contagious. In her book, Your Hidden Superpower, ABC Correspondent Adrienne Bankert revealed the power of kindness. She wrote, “is an unbeatable superpower inside every one of us that is far greater than talent or tenacity. It supersedes strength and intelligence. It crushes selfishness, negativity, and doubt.” Kindness creates a better culture by bringing out the best of ourselves. When we give our best to bring relief to others, like my friend Mr. Maraga, we raise the quality of living. Kindness is the capital we use to create a culture of trust, confidence, and authenticity. Kindness makes a difference in your sphere of influence. It keeps us grounded; It enables us to remain mindful and observant. Kindness is a currency you can never exhaust and it does not lose value. Regardless of age or stage in life, a lifestyle of kindness brings much-needed nourishment into our world. And it starts with us deciding and acting in kind ways.
Final thought: This month, we looked at kindness as a builder to a better culture. If we want to positively impact others, kindness cannot be ignored. The notion that kindness is a weakness or makes you a rug that people can walk on is a distortion of true kindness. Remember, kindness begins with a choice to bring relief to others, regardless of reward. That day at the airport, Mr. Maraga brought relief through kindness. To this day, we are still friends. Are you willing to participate in the kindness challenge and bring relief to others? Answering this challenge daily is key to building a better culture.
Keep on Keeping on
Bankert, Adrienne. Your Hidden Superpower. Thomas Nelson, 2020.