My daughters are in their 20’s. They often will say to me, “people are being too “peopley” today. I finally know exactly what they mean. I own a retail business where people are “peopley” every day. It is a small minority of my customers, because most are GREAT! But it is a real thing. These “peopley” people are unkind in a way that cuts me to the quick. They are rude to my staff and to each other. And they think by stepping up their attitude and their anger, it will get them what they want. NOW.
But Guess What?
This may be a news flash to that small minority, who are probably not reading this anyway, but this could not be farther from the truth. I am here to tell you why kindness matters. It matters in the every day and it matters in the big stuff. Nice breeds nice. Kindness gets you treated kindly. It’s that simple.
Yesterday, at my store, Consignments Ltd., I had a conversation with a customer. Well, not so much a conversation as a screaming fest on her part and a punching bag on my part. She wanted what she wanted, and when that wasn’t available, instead of going with kindness and human connection, she went with anger. It wasn’t a good day.
I was raised on the idea, that my Mom repeated on the daily, “you get more with sugar than you do with vinegar.” Now I’m not saying that you should wax profusely in falsehoods, but being kind was a tenet of my childhood and I think it’s worth a look. Kindness was a value instilled in me from birth. And I wish it would be more revered. I wondered today, when I hung up, where did it go?
Why Kindness Matters? A Real Life Example
My friends in Lahaina, Maui, HI will definitely attest, life is short. This beautiful place was devastated in a matter of hours. It will not be the same for decades. Yet, these people continue to be some of the kindest humans I have ever encountered. They have lost everything. They are hurting and they are lacking, but they are not unkind. Even though they have every reason to be so. We could learn from them a lot about why kindness matters. It dignifies the state of humanness. It makes people, like the residents of Maui, more than just creatures trying to survive.It makes them noble.
If your day is not going exactly as planned, the reaction does not need to be to lash out. How would it be, if just for a moment, we considered responding not in kind, but in kindness? How would that change the arc of our day? And how would that change the course of our humanity – one interaction at a time. Instead of yelling at me today, what if my customer had said, “I’m so sorry. I misunderstood?” My natural reaction would be to work with this person, not against her.
It is a truth that I hold dear: kindness begets kindness – most often. And when it doesn’t? At least you have taken the higher road. You have been less “peopley” than your brethren. You can sleep at night, safe in the knowledge that, for you, kindness matters. And by being kind, so do you.
For more feel good topics, check out my previous blogs, including: Why Are Customers So Rude? and Stories of Real Retail Customers That Will Make You Smile.
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”Jennifer Dukes Lee
Have a lovely day, dear ones. And continue to be the kindest people I know. I’m proud of you. Marianne