The Kindness Project: The Power of a Note
Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good. But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren’t feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, starting with a series of inspirational posts. We post the second Wednesday of every month. Want to join us? Grab our button and spread a little kindness.
I don’t remember the exact words and, sadly, I can barely remember the names of the two girl who left the note on my car, but I do remember the little folded paper and how it felt to know someone had noticed–that someone cared.
I’d had a terrible day, which happened all too frequently for me during high school. Even being appointed a student body officer for senior year didn’t seem to cure my awkwardness around people my age, the family crap consistently hitting the fan at home, and my growing loneliness based on both of the previous items. I think teachers might have suspected, but no one ever said anything.
My report card was lined with the letter A, all neatly lined up one after another. Surely that meant I was ok, right? I used to think so too.
But that day, two girls had noticed. In hindsight, they’d probably seen it all along.
I remember hiking to the I-think-I-can-van, not sure whether I’d been changing out spark plugs to get the thing started or making the even longer hike home when nothing worked. I was tired, beat down, and ready to give up. Life was hard. High school was even harder. I wish I knew how to fit in with all those kids, but when you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin, how in the world do you feel comfortable with anyone else?
I flopped into the driver’s seat and leaned my head against the wheel. Sigh. When I looked up, I noticed the folded piece of paper stuck under my windshield wiper. I opened the door and reached around for the note and then sat back in the blue captain’s chair to read whatever someone had put there.
Like I said, I can’t remember the exact words. Wish I still had the note somewhere. I believe it was something along the lines of, “Hey Deb, we think you’re awesome. Thanks for being such a great person/friend/unicorn (I don’t really know). Love, Amy & Amanda.”
What I do know is that there weren’t a lot of words. Just a quick hi, you’re awesome, and someone cares, type thing. But their little note changed my world. Half a scrap of paper took me from “I’m giving up” to “I can make it one more day.” I think the positive energy even rubbed off on my van because it started up and took me home.
I smiled the whole way and into the night. I kept the note for a long time, folded into one of my journals. I pulled it out on other days that felt like the end to remind myself that I had worth and people cared about me.
I am so grateful to these two girls. Thank you Amy and Amanda! You changed my life that day through a tiny, seemingly insignificant, act of kindness. You reminded me that I had friends (despite being the mutant I felt like most of the time) and you showed me how to bless others.
You made me into a better person.
Since that time I have often left little notes for others around me. Most of the time these people are already dear to my heart, but they’ve also been random strangers. Every so often perfection rears its ugly head and I start to believe that I should make whatever I’m saying long and beautiful… perhaps handwritten on nice stationary, but then I remember the scrap paper with the quick scrawl left for me on my van that day and I realize, it doesn’t matter how the note comes, it just needs to come.
So whether through text, twitter, email, facebook, 3×5 index cards or even post-its, I write the note. I send the love. Because you never know when your quick, “Hey, was thinking of you. You are awesome!” will change someone’s life.
How have you experienced the power of a note?
Check out the blogs of other Kindness Project participants by clicking on a name below!
Erica Chapman Sara McClung
Jessica Corra Gretchen McNeil
Elizabeth Davis Rachel Mercaldo
Christa Desir Leigh Moore
Linda Ge Tracey Neithercott
Andrea Hannah Katharine Owens
Claire Hennessy Elizabeth Poole
Elana Johnson Kirthi Rao