What makes something or someone beautiful, really? What is it that makes us stop in our tracks and be left in awe? In nature, we often recognize beauty when it’s unexpected, unique or rare. For example, a rose blooming from a stem of thorns or the sun bursting out of the darkness as it rises. Kindness is like that. It is highly underrated quality in our culture, and something we don’t see as often as we should.
To be kind is to be affectionate, loving, gentle, and of a sympathetic or helpful nature. How many people do you know who exude that?
I cannot write about the beauty in kindness without telling you about the most beautiful woman I know in San Diego. She is radiant beyond belief, always genuine, and refuses to let you walk away from your conversation with her without a hug. Mother Teresa once said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” Rosie is the epitome of that.
Rosie is the facilities janitor at my husband Brian’s office. I first met her last year when I was dropping off something for Brian at work. She saw us talking and walked over, asking Brian if I was his wife and if he’d introduce us. She immediately hugged me, and told me how excited she was to finally meet me, as Brian had told her all about me. Since then, she stops whatever she’s doing whenever I stop by the office, always giving me that big hug and asking about how things are going in our lives.
She is loving, authentic and kind–truly the kind of woman I want to be when I grow up. Though I consistently fool myself thinking that beauty has something to do with how I dress or how my body looks, she has the kind of beauty that I really want–the kind that impacts people’s lives and spreads love around.
The truth is, we cannot truly be beautiful without kindness. Yes, it is rare. Yes, it is difficult. But it is certainly not impossible, and it will become more natural as we practice. Here a few ways we can begin to pursue kindness in our daily lives:
1. Hold the door open for a stranger.
2. Acknowledge the humanity of others, regardless of their social status.
3. Listen to a friend who needs to be heard, refraining from giving advice unless we are asked.
4. Offer to help others, whether by bringing food to a friend who become a new mom, or by helping someone move across town to their new apartment.
5. Bring coffee to a coworker who has been working on a tough project.
6. Write an encouraging note to a friend for no reason.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for part two of this Six-Part Series on defining beauty: joy.
Photo Credit: modernhepburn.tumblr.com