Welcome back to Dessert for Thoughts, enjoy the meal.
I learned that being kind does actually feel really, really good.
Bear with me and I’ll tell you how to buy happiness with one green paper above.
I never perceive myself as a kind person. I pretty much do everything with this economic calculation: benefit – cost. If the result is positive, I’d do it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t. The benefit and cost includes the benefit-cost to the people I care about. The ones that I don’t, yes, excluded. That’s how unkind I am, if you wonder.
But last month, on one beautiful day, I learned that being kind does actually feel really, really good.
It was March 15, 2017, after I met up with my parents in one of those big malls in South Jakarta – I live in BSD, apart from them in Cikarang. It was a weekday, but I went to an internship interview that day in Jakarta, and they happened to be around there at the time, so we arranged to meet.
After we parted, on my way to the parking floor (I drove alone), I stopped by the restroom that was mildly crowded that day. Most of them were businesswomen or office workers, since it was a weekday.
While queuing, I noticed that there was only one janitor and she was very deft in cleaning the toilets. I think that’s the SOP, but she really did clean every toilet after someone used it and before the next person got in. A woman, seemingly rushing, told the janitor not to clean the toilet before she used it and immediately got in.
Then it was my turn and I got in. Inside the toilet, after finished using it, I was inspired by the janitor’s tenacity and by prior events that I will get to you about* soon, that I pulled out a 20,000 rupiah (around $1.5) from my wallet and went out. As I made my way out of the restroom, I handed the money to the janitor while murmuring something like “to buy some snacks”.
The first second after: “Makasih, Mbak!” – “Thank you, Miss!” said the janitor.
The two seconds after: “Makasih banyak, Mbak!” – “Thank you so much, Miss!” with a higher tone, in between surprised and confused.
Well, that was pretty much the end of what happened that day that I wanted to tell you about, only minus me walking the rest way to my car smiling, feeling true bliss that I didn’t expect to get when I gave 20,000 rupiah to the janitor.
It was a 20K magic (only refer to the K as rupiah instead of gold plating).
You might not see the magic by only reading this, but I could tell you one thing: it was the best 20,000 rupiah that I’ve ever spent my whole life. I bought my happiness with only 20,000 rupiah.
It is true what they say:
It is more blessed to give than to receive. -Acts 20:35
If you don’t believe it, try to do it some time and prove me wrong.
*Anyways, talking about practicing generosity, I was actually inspired by some more of my role models… my parents. Finally, some real people instead of fictional (read more).
Years ago, when we were eating in roadside food kiosks and there were beggars or crackers sellers asking for money, my parents would ask them if they had eaten. They said they hadn’t, and my parents would ask them to sit with us, in the same table, and order them the same food we were eating. It was already heart-moving to see them finish their food extremely quickly as if they were never going to eat that much food in their lives anymore.
When they had finished and thanked my parents and left, my parents would say to us – me and my brothers – that it feels happy to be able to give. They felt happy. Bliss.
That’s how I was inspired to wanting to do good deed, especially to the less fortunate people. Because in the end, it’s not only the people we give to who feel happy. We do, too. I think even happier than when we receive things from people.
So spread kindness where you go. You don’t have to start big to make an impact in someone’s life. You are not perfect, neither am I, none of us are. But we try to do that, and I believe the world will become a better place to live in.
See you in the next Dessert for Thoughts.
Spread the words.