Be Kind to Everyone You Meet, or Else…

So much of who I am is influenced by my mom’s teachings. Some lessons she taught me have been tattooed into my operating system and have become my way of being.

She taught be to be interested in people and their cultures (my parents are landed immigrants). To always buy clothes on sale but NEVER cheap out on skincare. And to appreciate homemade everything (baking, food, socks, crafts, you name it).

I remember one morning going to Safeway with my mom as a preschooler. The cashier had long blonde hair down to her waist like a princess. I tapped my mom to bend down, pushed her short brown permed hair aside and whisper in her ear, “Mom, she’s so beautiful.”

Then, to my horror my face burned hot with embarrassment as my mom TOLD her what I had said. I was livid and felt betrayed. How could she embarrass me like that? And my mom smiled and simply said that it’s kind to tell people the nice things we think about them. Adding that my comment probably made her day.

There isn’t a day now that I don’t tell people the good I see in them. In fact, for many years now every yoga class I teach I ask for guidance to be a lamp to show my students the goodness and beauty that they are. True story.

Some of the lessons my mom taught were more like a stern finger wagging and furrowed brow warning. Like that you should be kind to everyone you meet, because they might be your boss one day. This is still relevant to me, but I’ve put a different spin on it.

It’s important to be kind to everyone we meet, but not because it might come back to us in a bad way if we don’t. We can put positive spin on it, like: be kind to everyone you meet because they might be your new best friend, advocate, business partner, spouse, investor, client, supporter, who knows right? This interaction could be lucky for a million reasons.

Yesterday morning I stopped our letter carrier on the sidewalk. I was curious because I’d seen her and a few others on this route and was wondering if it was a shared walk. I told her about my experience as a letter carrier for Canada Post over a decade ago. She brought me up to speed on the changes since. Wee chatted about the virtues and challenges of the job. We also discovered we have people in common, and the conversation went on easily like that.

Later that day she dropped off a few parcels (a new blue sun hat for Magnus, and new black Birkenstocks for me). Walter stormed out like it was his first taste of freedom after 20 years in jail. He’s such a turkey! She asked if she could give him her peanut butter toast to goad him back. Once he smelled it, he gobbled it up greedily while I coaxed him back into the house.

A warm and kind few minute conversation and a funny interaction brightened both of our days. Now that we’ve met, I’m excited to see her everyday. It’s like running into a friend, not just a nice person I wave to daily.

Be kind to everyone you meet, because you never know who this person might be to you OR how your life will be enriched by this new connection. Tell me now, what lessons did your mom teach you that still influence you?

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