Kindness, weirdness and being kind anyway

Being kind is always a good ideaI believe the majority of people are intrinsically kind. In the last little while I have been gifted a box of mangoes by a stranger who didn’t want to see them wasted. A young man helped me get baby E’s pram up a long flight of stairs (so grateful). I rang a government call centre, expecting to be frustrated, and was instead assisted by the most lovely and helpful lady.

I have been the beneficiary of kindness from strangers and my beautiful friends and family. I think most of us experience these kindnesses, if we stop to think about it. I think most of us give out kindness, without stopping to think about it. But sometimes we do think about it. We think too much about it and we get in the way of our own good intentions. 

When my middle son died, I was so touched by the kindness shown to our family. Beautiful gestures by complete strangers and loved ones alike. Gifts and tokens and words that still mean the world to me. Then there were those that wanted to extend kindness and understanding but faltered. They didn’t want to send a card for fear it would upset me. They hesitated to do things for Xavier, anxious there were over-stepping an invisible boundary. They started phone calls, emails and letters but never finished them because they over-thought the action.

I understand and I can relate.  Before I lost my middle son, I would often dream up a random act of kindness, go so far as to make the gift or order the flowers, only to second-guess myself. Was I over-stepping? Would the gift be perceived as a strange act? Would the recipient think I was presupposing a depth of relationship that didn’t exist? Would it be all a little weird really?

I have never thought any of those things when someone has been kind to me. Yet, I was moved to paralysis, surrendering my act of kindness to unfounded fears. I don’t do this anymore. If I feel like doing something nice for someone, I just do it. I don’t over-think it and I don’t expect anything back. There is a temptation to keep a mental tally of favours and kindnesses. To expect an evenly tipped scale. But I don’t think this is true kindness – the expectation of something in return. Kindness is something to set free, and if it comes back to you, then that’s beautiful but if not, that’s okay too. The act itself has its own beauty and reward.

When next you dream up a kindness, just do it. If you suspect your friend needs a pick me up, just text them something lovely. If you see someone struggling with their shopping bags or their stroller – offer help – it will most likely be gratefully received. If a child is crying, comfort them. In these politically correct yet socially isolating times, that seems like a nearly revolutionary act – to simply extend compassion to a child.

Let’s be damned with the imagined consequences.
Let’s just be kind. Even if you fear it might be a little weird – it’s the best kind of weird. 

Do you ever self-censor kind acts because you are worried that they might appear a bit weird?

16 thoughts on “Kindness, weirdness and being kind anyway

  1. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me says:

    I think when I was younger but nowadays I believe that there isn’t enough random kindness in the world and I get a lot given to me so I dish out as much as I can. If it’s taken the wrong way then maybe the person wasn’t meant to be the recipient. I’m so glad you were shown kindness all those years ago, hugs x

    • Robyna says:

      I think it’s definitely one of those things that you just do as you get older, because you realise life is too short and if someone reads something negative into kindness, well, I know where the problem lies and it’s not with the giver. We were very touched by the amount of kindness we received.

  2. Planet Pav says:

    You have hit the nail on the head Robyna! I love that you have so perfectly articulated something that would otherwise continue to float around in my head. I often hold back on showing gestures of kindness for fear of being perceived as weird or even needy. Thank-you so much for this post as it has prompted me to send that card to my friend thatI bought ages ago but haven’t sent yet xoxox

  3. Michelle says:

    I was in the emergency department with Rory very very late one night and a woman came in escorted by police. I never saw her but I heard her, sobbing her heart out. I wanted so much to walk the two curtains down and give her a hug or something but I didn’t – I didn’t want to invade, or upset the nurses, or interrupt the cops, but I couldn’t stop thinking about her and wanting to just show her someone cared. I still think about her sometimes, and hope that she’s okay.

    • Robyna says:

      That’s a really hard one – you have no idea the context of that situation and you of course had your own issues to deal with right then. Sometimes the best we can do is send some positive vibes to a person and hope the universe carries them in the right direction.

  4. thelilawolff says:

    Robyna, I just love this. I used to censor a lot of myself not just kindness for fear of appearing weird, but what kind of way to live life is that!
    Also I’m so sorry for the loss of your son.

    • Robyna says:

      Exactly! I think we just have to live the best way we can and not worry too much about what other people think (whilst still being mindful of how we make other people feel – very different things). Thank you for your kind words about Xavier.

  5. Naomi Bulger says:

    Oh yes I absolutely agree! We must be in sync because I was just thinking and writing about much the same stuff. It took me more than a month to write a post card, because I over-thought the content. Kindness isn’t something to hesitate over. Let’s just do it!

  6. skyeserina says:

    Such a beautiful, true and honest write-up! I always end up halting at intent, but it’s so true that I can’t recall once that I ever thought someone going out of their way for me was strange or overstepping it! Minds are funny things! Thank you 🙂 x

  7. Sew Crafty Deb says:

    You know as I get older I’m becoming less worried about what people think of me and I don’t bother censoring myself at all anymore. Life is too short to concern ourselves with what people might think. I regularly give compliments nowadays whereas in the past I wouldn’t for fear of seeming a bit silly. And it’s always, always met with such genuine appreciation and often surprise. Thank you for this lovely post Robyna. And I also just wanted to say how terribly sorry I am about the loss of your precious little son, Xavier. I am so pleased you have a wonderful supportive network of family and friends. Much love to you lovely. xx

    • Robyna says:

      Thanks Deb – I think that’s definitely one of the advantages of getting older – that we do what we feel and we second guess ourselves less. Thank you for your lovely words about Xavier – it’s still a very large hole in our family but one that we deal with very differently now.

  8. Caroline @ Shrinking Single says:

    What a lovely inspiring post. We definitely need more kindness in the world at the moment. My Mum was stressing about sending a card to a friend she had dropped out of contact with whose partner had died a little while ago. She was so worried about saying the right thing. But really it is all just about saying something isn’t it.

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