When Little Actions Make a Big Difference

June 20, 2018

Delaney Faught, 22, is a Michigan-native currently living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2016, attaining a bachelor’s degree in communication studies with a minor in nonprofit administration. Currently, she works for Kids’ Food Basket, a nonprofit that serves healthy meals to nearly 7,500 west Michigan children every weekday. Delaney also teaches local middle and high school students, and, in her free time, she enjoys exploring Michigan’s beautiful outdoors and enjoying a good book.

Recently, I have been observing acts of kindness in the form of patience. Today’s world is a busy, fast-paced one. It is easy to overlook others’ stress; it is easy to forget that we all make mistakes. At the same time, it is so easy to make mistakes; we are late; we forget important details. I am, of course, guilty of both sides of this coin. These past few weeks, that has felt especially true. It has been a very busy time, both personally and professionally.

But through it all, I have been given so much grace instead of grief. I have been met with so much kindness. I had multiple friends visiting from out of town that understood my busy schedule. The organization I work for hosted a large event that was truly all hands on deck. There were many instances when people demonstrated understanding when they very well could have shown frustration. And through many other commitments in that past week, the loving people in my life have lifted me up. So, here’s to them.

Below is a list of 15 acts of kindness that I received:

  1. Someone made me dinner.
  2. My partner comforted me when I was stressed.
  3. I vented to a friend about a technology problem I could not solve, and she did research to find a solution for me.
  4. Friends sent me encouraging text messages on some long days.   
  5. My partner did the grocery shopping because I was busy, even though it was my turn to do it.
  6. On an event day, one of my coworkers picked up lunch for a group of us.
  7. People spoke kindly to each other in many moments of stress. And when they didn’t, forgiveness was granted.
  8. When I realized I had agreed to dog-sit while I was supposed to be at a wedding, a roommate offered to cover for me.
  9. When I was being hard on myself, I was reminded me to remember my successes, too.
  10. More than one person understood when I completely forgot to text them back.
  11. I received some very well-delivered, constructive criticism.
  12. My brother listened.
  13. A friend in my hometown agreed to get dinner with me on short notice after she worked all day just to catch up.
  14. My partner and I got all the way to our destination when I realized I had forgotten something important. He wasn’t mad.
  15. More than one person asked, “What can I do to help?”

It’s so easy to focus on our stress – it becomes our story. And sometimes, it is unavoidable. But when I took time to look back over these busy days and count kindness, my perspective was changed. Yes, my schedule was full. Yes, my body was tired. Yes, my mind felt overwhelmed at times. But I had a whole network of people surrounding me choosing to give me patience even when I probably did not seem kind.

Everyone has something they are going through. Good, bad, it all still takes our energy and emotional stamina. I can tell you that these acts of kindness, these acknowledgments of my own humanity, they helped get me through. We have the power to help others see their value over their mistakes through seemingly small decisions every day. So tomorrow, I challenge you to give someone an extra ounce of patience or support because you never really know how badly they need it.