Long ago, a woman I knew only by casual acquaintance excitedly stopped me in church one day. We were walking past each other in the hall, and I was somewhat surprised to see her there. We had met the week before at a volleyball game, an activity put together by the church’s singles’ group. She and I were one of the first people to arrive. Since I had not seen her at any of our activities before, and I could sense extreme apprehension in her, I introduced myself and asked her if she was new to the group.
She said she attended another church but wanted to get involved in our singles’ group. She said that she was very interested in joining our group but had heard that it was hard to get to know us. I couldn’t disagree with her – it seemed that way to me too when I first joined. I told her not to worry, that I would introduce her to people.
As group members began arriving, I made simple introductions. Nothing out of the ordinary. As the game started, she participated. Laughing, talking, and having fun. The volleyball players seemed to open up to her and treat her like an old friend.
Now, standing in the hallway at church, she thanked me for the introductions with much more gratitude than I felt the small act deserved. She went on to say that she had gone out to socialize with a group of people after the game, and that she had made a couple of friends. She was now here because those friends had persuaded her to join them at our Sunday morning gatherings.
She seemed to bounce away from our encounter with an entirely different demeanor than what I had originally seen in her the prior week. Her revelation floored me. It also sent a warmth into my inner being.
I learned something that day that taught me a great lesson. Every act has a ripple effect. An act of kindness, no matter how small or insignificant you may perceive it, has a domino effect. Exponentially creating goodness down the line. Not just my small act of kindness, but hers as well. Because she took the time to tell me how what I did affected her, I felt encouraged and bolder about reaching out in kindness to people I don’t know.
One of our greatest gifts as HSPs is empathy. Empathy is a superpower that allows us to step into another person’s shoes. We feel someone’s needs and pain, sometimes so thoroughly that we have trouble distinguishing it from our own.
While this does open us up to exploitation, a subject we will address in another blog post, it is also a great opportunity to show another person kindness. Perpetuate good in a world that is lacking.
Unkindness, like kindness, has the same property of perpetuation and domino-effect progression. One small act of kindness goes a long way to fizzle-out so much unkindness that seems to dominate our world.
You have been endowed with a superpower. Cultivating a practice of kindness through your super empathy has the power to transform the world we all live in.
Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson