When I was 6 years old, my mom and I drove past a busy market and I saw what appeared to be a large object on the sidewalk with most pedestrians, peeping in and moving on. Well, that object was a human being, lying unconsciously. As I paid more attention, I made audible sounds in pity for that human being lying on that hard and dirty floor, helpless. My mom seized the moment and decided to educate me on the many chances that that situation may have been staged to create an enabling environment for crime to thrive. Con artistry, fraud, and pickpocketing are typical examples she described. She warned me never to go near gatherings of people of any sorts in such places so I do not become a victim of these crimes. But as much as her teachings sank, I also wondered what could be the case, if it were not staged?
We all must have had the resounding echoes of warnings from our parents and guardians about speaking to and accepting things from strangers, hovering around crowded places, boarding unpainted taxis, and even as far as picking up a pin from the floor for an old woman who may have intentionally dropped it as an act of mischief.
In the society we live in today, would you assist a lost child in a busy market place bearing in mind that you may be accused of been a paedophile or a thief? Would you offer your seat in a bus to a pregnant woman after a long day at work? Would you slow down on a lonely bridge at night having seen a young girl crying hysterically for help knowing it may just be one of those setup scenes for armed robbery or ritual attacks? Would you offer alms to a man who gave a cliché story of how he needs a little amount of money to complete his transport fare home knowing he may be lying, as he is off to buy hard drugs with your hard earned money? Would you give up your space in line for the bus for an older person who has just arrived having waited for hours knowing the next bus will not be arriving soon? Would you volunteer your service for free knowing you have a family running on a tight budget? These are questions that probe our minds from time to time and we are often disturbed by our honest answers.
As a society we appear to have lost the instinct for kindness and compassion. Many people are afraid to help others, because there is little or no trust among people due to what may have been seen, heard or experienced. People move more with fear and skepticism when it comes to helping others, short of becoming victims of kindness and compassion.
I like to think that people were a lot more open to helping others in the past than today. In comparison, the society was much more trusting than now that it has become narrow-minded, malicious and isolated. This can be seen by the huge number of crimes against innocent people who may have fought through their fears and offered help to strangers on compassionate grounds.
Somewhere in between all these negativity that surrounds us on a daily basis, there are exceptional positive cases. I have had many experiences – good and bad, from offering help to friends and strangers alike. Many other people have shared great stories from helping others, which makes me think that there is still a window for kindness and compassion in our society.
Everyday, we are faced with decisions to go out of our way and make efforts to do good, to be kind and offer assistance even when we know we really do not have to, but we really want to, because we know that our actions could really make someone feel better, not necessarily expecting a favor in return. There is that spirit of association that appeals to our conscience to have us spend our time, money and efforts putting a smile on the face of another to make life a little more bearable.
With the doubts, fears and mistrust in our society, showing kindness, selflessness and compassion can be quite challenging, I agree, but we can still benefit from the gift of doing good and sharing kindness with others by showing courage, exercising good judgments and been optimistic. It does not have to be in great things, but in the little that counts.
When we thoughtfully do nice things for people, we create an enabling environment for us to savor a world of boundless positivity. Positive energies are basically magnets for experiences that cause you to feel more joy and contentment. You do yourself great service by serving others.
Deciding to take action and knowing that you could be the one in need of assistance in another circumstance, and further realizing that if you were in that position of need, you would appreciate being treated with the same kindheartedness and compassion is what makes up humanity for me.
I chose to share my thoughts on kindness and compassion with you as a reassurance that we all have a Good Samaritan somewhere deep within us. With the society today, it is easy to get lost in our own problems and hide under a million excuses, however, we come across several opportunities every day to reach out to people struggling all around us. Try not to disregard the opportunities because you are laying a foundation for yourself. It is nice to be important but it is more important to be nice.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Roxana González