Courtesy sweenpole2001 via flickr

People whose work primarily involves service (and whose doesn’t) live for those moments when we learn that something we did made a positive difference in someone’s life.

Teachers, lawyers, civil servants, home health aids, doctors, therapists, parents, heck, you name it, get feedback for sure. Too often it is something of the “You aren’t doing enough! You need to do more!” variety. Some of it is negative and once in a while there’s that note of gratitude or appreciation that shines out like gold.

The other day I received this note on my Facebook page:

I saw your profile on fb… Your name sounded so familiar. If you are the person who was on WBFO that talked about the stress of caregiving and used the boiling frog analogy, I want to thank you. I am a social worker by training and understand the importance of self care. My caregiving responsibilities were so overwhelming that I had lost all perspective on what was doable. That radio spot did not necessarily change my life but it was definitely food for thought. After that I started giving myself more credit for what I was doing rather than being so critical of the things I couldn’t get around to completing. My mom passed away in November after a 20 year battle with Parkinson’s. So thank you if you are who I think you are; otherwise it’s an interesting story to tell your friends.

A commentary I recorded over a year ago touched someone in a positive way. Her story, similar to my own, implied many acts of kindness she did for her mother, inspired by her mother’s own kindness, no doubt. This listener then took the time to find me and let me know my words made a bit of difference to her. The delightful surprise of her comment lit me up. I wrote back my appreciation and asked for permission to share her note here. Her gesture made us both feel good and I like to think encouraged us to enjoy that glow of kindness and share it with others.

That’s the kindness dividend. When we do good for no good reason but to be kind, we are in a state of grace. When we remember to express our delight, appreciation and thanks to another, expecting nothing in return, we hope it makes them feel good because we feel good. The good feeling grows and gets paid forward creating a win-win-win to the gazilionth power!

No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.
~Amelia Earhart (1897-1937); Aviation pioneer, author