Acts of kindness for many people turn out to be an essential part of building Resiliency! I observe on a daily basis all the acts of kindness big and small that take place everyday, it makes the world a better place and is as good for the giver as the receiver. See Small Acts/ Big Changes Cabarete for daily examples! I think of Resiliency as being the mindset, set of skills, strategies that allows us to live our best lives in the face of whatever life brings. We all know that life can be both beautiful and also for all of us life brings it’s share of adversity and challenge. So whether we are building Resiliency to ride through bumps, like small disappointments or frustrations, or whether we are making a comeback after a major set back like a death, divorce, accident and serious health or financial issues, we all need to be building up our Resiliency bank!! A bit like deposits and withdrawals to our bank account in a way!
I have the good fortune of living on the beach in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. As all of us, I am horrified by the plastic situation in our oceans, so each day, when I am walking Ruffus, I pick up plastic as I walk along the beach, in fact, I realized recently, I pick up at least 500 pieces of plastic a day or 3500 a week!!!! I do it because, I am genuinely concerned about the oceans and the plastic and the fish, whales, turtles and other sea creatures suffering from the plastic in the ocean water. This act of kindness is building my Resiliency, my ability to recover from the death of our son, from a near fatal car accident and other adversity I have faced the past couple of years. It may sound a bit odd to you that picking up plastic is helping me recover from the death of a son. It works something like this, when I am out on the beach with Ruffus and my pick up bags, I am totally focused on finding plastic and particularly on keeping it from going back into the sea, where a creature might eat it. With each piece of plastic I pick up, I am relieved that at least, that one will no longer harm the ocean, and I am happy to be helping even in such a small way. It feels like with each piece of plastic I pick up, my heart heals a bit more.
I am awed by the Acts of Kindness that I witness each day. Most of them done in a quiet unassuming manner, not done for recognition or bravado, but genuine acts of kindness that appear to originate from a keen desire to help or be kind to someone or something other than themselves. One of my neighbors, a quiet chap, gets up early every day, walks to an abandoned neighborhood and feeds the dogs and cats that have no homes, he does it every day! He recently asked me to go with him to see some puppies he had found, he was so proud and happy. It appears to me that this act of kindness brings him great joy and helps build his resiliency.
The other day, my husband who was limping with a sore foot, came in exclaiming quite joyfully. “Guess what”? He was thrilled because Jose, our security guard had seen him limping while carrying a heavy object and Jose carried it for my husband, That simple act of kindness spread joy, gratitude to all of us.
It turns out that research has shown, according to Dr. Laurie Santos PHD Yale University, ” Research shows that happy people are motivated to do kind things for others”. Feeling happy is an especially important piece to building Resiliency. It helps us remain balanced in the face of challenges. So if the challenges are a withdrawal to our sense of well being, feeling happy, which can be increased by Acts of kindness to others are deposits. How great is it that by doing small acts of kindness each day, we build our own happiness, the happiness of others and Build Resiliency? Try it for one week, an act a day or seven in one day! Have fun!