December 2020

The Benefits of Kindness teaser image
How many times have you considered looking after the comfort of others rather than our own and helped people in need? Take a moment to look back on all the things that you have done this past week or month.
What do you see in the reflections of the past week? Did you come across anyone around you who was not related to you or known to you but was troubled or wanted  help? Did you ever proceed ahead to help them without them asking for it?
Let’s look at what being thoughtful might look like in an everyday scenario. Have you seen an elderly person walking down the street carrying a lot of stuff from the store, where it seemed that they might need some help? Have you offered to help them without them asking for it?
I am sure many of us have done it at least once or twice in our lives. Did it not feel wonderful? I am sure it did!
Have you ever happened to travel by public transport that had full occupancy with no seats left? How many of you noticed a pregnant woman, elderly person, or a woman with small kids standing, while many younger people sat oblivious of the obligation to offer their seats to the needy ones? Did you ever wait for the person to ask for help, or did you offer a seat without being asked for it?
I am sure many of us are considerate enough to offer our seats! Did you feel good taking one step towards helping a person? I bet you did, because being thoughtful towards another being gives a positive energy to our own self.
These are the examples of being considerate to strangers whom we do not know anything about.
What about being thoughtful in the workplace where you are around people that you know?
How many times might you have seen that your colleague is struggling with the first day orientation at work, and getting familiar with the workplace? Have you offered any of your time to familiarize them to the break area, to the IT department, or to the secretary’s office? Have you waited for them to open up and ask for help from you, letting them know in advance that you are ready to offer help in anything in case they need it? Have you noticed the glow in their eyes after you have decided to help? Isn’t it wonderful, that light in their eyes, that brightens up your day as well!
Have you seen one of your colleagues look sad and gloomy, and have you ever asked what is the matter and if there was anything you could do to help? You might just discover that their grandfather might have died and they felt hopeless not being able to attend the funeral. However, talking to you about their loved one would definitely lighten up their grief. Well, it sure lightens up your heart as well!
Have you come across a new student juggling between classrooms and cafeteria? Struggling to get accustomed to the new environment, a bit confused, yet hesitant to ask a senior for help? Have you ever considered  takeing one step ahead to ask if they need help with the new location? If you did, I must say that you have definitely created a trend where the same person might look forward to helping their juniors when in need. Helping someone out of our own self often brings a good vibe to people around you. It spreads a chain of consideration where the receiver will often become the next new giver.
Being thoughtful means being considerate even without acknowledging the help that you offered, even to your own self. It means going a step away from your comfort zone to realize the discomfort of others, offering to help by any means you could. It does not necessarily have to be physical or monetary help—it could be social or even emotional support from just letting the person know that you are there!
I do understand that sometimes it might be a delicate balance between offering help or being fearful of encroaching on the person’s privacy and social distancing preferences. .
However, it always seems better to ask if anyone around us in distress needs a helping hand and confirm, rather than make a prior guess that they would rather be left alone.
Being thoughtful sometimes even means being considerate of another’s need for space, and thoughtfulness may be felt or understood even through small, kind gestures without any real communications.

Being thoughtful gives you a sense of accomplishment in your own small world and gives you a lot of positive energy to make you feel happy about yourself.
Being thoughtful does not necessarily mean you are leaving your own comfort for the sake of others, but it is indeed the easiest way to reflect on yourself. Understanding the level of kindness and compassion you can have towards another living being and the fact that you are able to make this world a beautiful place will be the best feeling ever!

-- Madhu Shrestha

Madhu is a master’s student in the Department of Diagnostic Science

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