My friend and I were crossing an intersection carrying beach gear (this was pre beach closings), and there was a single car coming on the road. The driver stopped the car to let us pass, but we politely declined and waved him through. If I had been driving, I probably would have stopped my car as well. So why didn’t we accept the driver’s generous act?

I believe some humans (I include myself) are uncomfortable accepting kindness from strangers. Maybe because then we owe something back? But to whom, to the Universe? Maybe because we think they may have some hidden agenda? Because of course, we don’t have one! Maybe because it shows weakness? Nobody is strong all the time! Maybe because we are undeserving of kindness? That last possibility is scary! If we feel uncomfortable accepting good will from others, how can we then accept it from ourselves? Is it that we are martyrs, giving our best effort and energy to others, but leaving an empty gas tank for us?

I propose we continue giving to others AND start receiving from them as well. This will jump start our kindness gears, making them bi-directional. Giving and receiving, giving and receiving, etc. For some of us, it will take some getting used to do. We can start small, like letting someone open a door for us, or trusting drivers when they let us go across a road. Let’s stop assuming the worse from people. Be kind to others, let others be kind to you.

Photo by Garin Chadwick on Unsplash

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