“The kinder and more thoughtful a person is,
the more kindness they can find in other people.”
– L. Tolstoy
It’s been a little over a week since my life took on a different perspective; I’m spending a lot more time sitting on my ass! While not completely incapacitated by recent foot surgery, many of the daily activities I took for granted now require planning. Moving from one floor of the house to another is no longer a case of a quick trip up or down the stairs. When using crutches, carrying things and trying to walk is a bit challenging; good news is I can still chew gum. Likewise I’ve come to better appreciate the value of independence, and I’ve gained a much better understanding of thoughtfulness.
I found a relatively simple explanation of thoughtfulness on the website of a UK Primary School. It read, “Thoughtfulness means being kind and thoughtful. It means making ourselves aware of the needs and feelings of others and then taking action to help them. It means taking the time to stop thinking about ourselves, to put the spotlight on somebody else’s needs and to think, ‘What can I do to make that person’s life a little better or easier?’
Unfortunately for me, the ah-ha moment for gaining a better understanding of thoughtfulness required an injury that made me more dependent on others. I’ve come to learn that getting back on your feet, literally and figuratively, is much easier when you have thoughtful folks surrounding you, and over the past week I’ve come to truly appreciate their thoughtfulness. People like my wife Shirlee, who has looked out for me 24/7, my sister-in-law Cathy who just happens to stop by daily at lunchtime, my best friend Gary who surprised me with an Italian feast of sausage/peppers and pizza, and the “Money Master” himself, Jay, who left me a little treat bag including a cigar and some Woodford Reserve. And then there were the texts, emails and phone calls from so many others. It is their thoughtfulness, their willingness to take a moment out of their day to check-in on me, that has made all the difference, and given me a different perspective moving forward.
This next week will best be described as the most “other-oriented” time of the year. Not only will we need to take care of our daily business, but most of us will be consumed with last minute holiday shopping, wrapping and preparations. This “season of giving” provides the perfect opportunity to demonstrate thoughtfulness, but the greater challenge will be to continue it throughout the year.
Thoughtfulness is something that can be shared at any time of the year, and there are no words to describe the power it has to change another’s moment, day or maybe even a life. Perhaps the greatest gift we can give this holiday season is a personal commitment to being more thoughtful throughout the upcoming year. It is one gift that I’ve received in bulk, and moving forward, one I plan to share often.