I’m inspired by the following story to set some New Year’s resolutions, not only about being kind to others, but also about being kinder to myself. What do you think? Here’s the story:
On the way back from work every evening, more often than not, there would be a homeless man standing at the exit ramp of the freeway.
He waved at every car. He was always happy and smiling and sometimes almost dancing.
Every day after work I would gather my spare change, and put it aside to give to him if I saw him. A feeling of joy would come over me whenever he was there as I came off the ramp. He had that effect. His joy was infectious. Occasionally the red light would be on for a minute and we would ask each other about our day. His answer would always be the same, “I’m blessed!”
Then one day I was called into my boss’s office and told that I was being let go due to some mistakes I had made on a recent project.
Needless to say that on my way home that day I was upset. I started calling myself names and reviewing everything I had done wrong. I wasn’t feeling the joy as I got off the ramp where the homeless man would be. Yet there he was as always, smiling and waving.
I’d hoped to catch the green light, but missed it. He set his eyes on me, as he strolled over to my car. When he reached me, he gave me an even bigger smile than usual and said, “Today I will give you a dollar.” He pulled a dollar out of his pocket and pressed it into my hand. I burst into tears. I wanted to jump out of my car and hug him!
In hindsight, I know he helped me remember that no matter what I’d lost, I still had the choice to be joyful in my present circumstances. I had no job and no savings, but in that moment, I suddenly felt like I could deal with it. I vowed to stop beating myself up and get on with life with a smile on my face and more kindness to others than ever before.