We often get caught up in life’s hustle and bustle, so much so that we can forget how to be kind. Sometimes taking a little time to remember that kindness goes a far way and that it’s contagious is important.

We live in a society where we have poor customer service in shops and public institutions and where driving on the roads requires an exorbitant amount of patience. We have gotten to a place where we forget basic courtesy and manners. It’s usually easier to “suck ya teeth” and “get vex” than to smile and offer a word of kindness.

The truth is we don’t know how someone’s day might be going or what their problems are but showing a kind gesture lets them feel that not everything in life is problematic and that the world isn’t against them. Doing something kind not only makes you feel good inside but it’s also contagious as usually an act of kindness tends to inspire other acts of kindness.

Here are some ways in which you can brighten up someone’s day:

  • Common courtesy: We often forget the basic courtesy of greeting others. I’m not talking about people you know; I’m talking about walking into a shop or public place and saying, “Good day.” It doesn’t matter if no one responds as at least you’d be reminding them of basic courtesy.
  • Being considerate to a pedestrian: We have a culture among drivers of ignoring pedestrian crossings in Guyana. Even if one isn’t there, if you are driving and you see a pedestrian seeking to cross ahead of you, slow down, put on your hazard lights and allow them to do so. It will serve as a pleasant reminder that not everyone who uses the roadways is unkind.
  • Stop tooting horns impatiently: Having traffic lights in theory is supposed to mean that there is more order but Guyanese drivers have a bad habit of blowing their horns almost immediately as the light changes. Sure, everyone has a place to be but giving someone a second to press their accelerator shows kindness and consideration.
  • Paying someone a compliment: Paying someone a compliment from time to time is a sure way to put a smile on that person’s face. Telling someone how nice their outfit is or what a pretty smile they have may brighten up their day more than you know.

Remember that we cannot change the world, but we can change the way we behave towards the world. An act of kindness is one way of starting.

Alicia Roopnaraine is a Psychologist at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation’s Psychiatric Department and also sees patients privately. You can send questions, comments or schedule a private consultation at aliciaroopnaraine@gmail.com

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