kind over matter: The Kindness of Receiving with Brené Brown

kind over matter: The Kindness of Receiving with Brené Brown: "Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.

In our culture we’ve come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we’re very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It’s as if we’ve divided the world into 'those who offer help' and 'those who need help.'

The truth is that we are both. In order to experience real connection, we need to experience both giving and receiving."

And, here I am... completely humbled by that concept.

I received a voicemail this week from someone at church. She said that she would like to talk to me about a donation that someone would like to give me. I immediately thought--"hmm, very nice, but I don't need anything" with a little bit of "since when did I become a charity case?!?!?" on the side. I called her back to politely and graciously decline the offer of whatever it might be. On the phone, she told me about the kinds of donations that they receive and how some people have specific types of recipients in mind. In this case, she was looking for a single mother with a daughter between the ages of 3 and 6. Suddenly I became more interested. A family wanted to donate a bedroom set. Guess what? LJ needs a bedroom set. And, just like that, I signed up for the receiving end of some kindness. They delivered it last night, and they were an incredibly beautiful family (plus one incredibly beautiful friend they brought along). After they set everything up, LJ had a little tea party for them. She also delivered about fifty kisses. I think she likes her new bedroom set!

And me? I got a genuine spiritual awakening.

Kind Regards (from a much more open heart),

Your Neighbor


My Apologies

I bribed LJ into going shopping with me. I promised to buy her favorite snack at the mall: pretzel bites and lemonade. There was a long, haphazard line. When the PretzelMaker employee asked me what I wanted, I placed my order. She was filling it when I realized that we had skipped another family in line. Ugh. My first instinct was to act like nothing happened, but then thoughts about this blog crept in and encouraged me to go with Plan B and apologize. They were very gracious in accepting my apology. And, I left with a clean conscience (and a small order of pretzel bites and a fresh-squeezed lemonade).

Kind Regards,

Your Neighbor



"The kindest thing you can do for someone else is listen without forming an opinion."
-Lori Deschene

I have met some pretty eccentric characters since I have been working at the animal hospital. Trust me, I have been forming opinions and sharing stories on a daily basis. And, I have to admit that some of them haven't been very kind. After sharing my latest round of observations at my nephew's birthday party last night and stumbling across an interesting blog entry, I felt the need to make some changes. Time to care more, judge less.

Today's act of kindness was to try to listen without forming an opinion. I tried, but I failed miserably. I still instantly liked some people from the moment they walked in the door. I still found myself rolling my eyes (mentally) at some of the things other people said. Maybe I'm interpreting the quote too literally, but I just don't think it's possible to refrain from forming an opinion about people. Or, is this just one of my character flaws? Hmm... I'm going to have to continue this exercise throughout the week. I'm not sure about it yet. At least, everyone got some stellar customer service today.

Kind Regards,

Your Neighbor


Abe Lincoln

I know it's 5:00 am on Sunday, but I'm calling this Saturday's blog. I missed writing about Friday, and I really want to stay in the habit of daily posting.

Thursday's letter really made me stop and think-- what do I LOVE about my life? It was such a fun list to write: the smell of orange blossoms, starry nights, getting the urge to laugh when it would be wildly inappropriate to do so, finding money in a coat pocket, and so many more. I was sooooo happy when I found a five dollar bill in the bottom of an old purse the other day. That's what made me think of today's act of kindness.

I sealed the envelope and took it with us on our afternoon stroll. LJ and I walked up to the shopping center. There are a few shops to choose from, but I thought someone would be most happy about finding $5 at the thrift store. So, we left it on a rack, snapped a quick photo on my cell phone (just to add a little excitement to our secret mission), and walked out of the store.

As we walked home, I wondered if it would be considered a suspicious package. (It reminded me of the time that I left that book at the airport.) Hopefully, Abe found a happy home and someone else got to experience one of my favorite little things about life. Have a delightful day!

Kind Regards,

Your Neighbor


A Thankful Girl

I have been blessed with the most amazing friends. I received a package from one of these beautiful friends today. She saves magazine articles, newspaper clippings, or comics that she knows I will find entertaining, and when her file folder is full she sends them to me in the mail. See? I wasn't joking... I have AMAZING friends. :-)

Today's package contained something extra special. It was a copy of a letter that her friend found tucked in a magazine at Barnes and Noble in December. "Dear Reader, I'm leaving this note for no particular reason, except to share with a complete stranger the things I love about my life." It was signed "A Thankful Girl." And, I'm sure you already know how much I enjoyed reading every word. It was sweet and honest and incredibly heartwarming.

I sat down and wrote my own love letter this evening. I guess LJ and I will have to go by Barnes and Noble tomorrow for a top secret special delivery into the magazine of our choice.

Kind Regards,

Your Neighbor


Cutting in Line

Today's act of kindness wasn't very inspired, but it will have to do since I don't have anything else and it's already 10:00pm. I let someone get in line in front of me at Target this afternoon. That's it. She had one item, and I had a full cart. It was a no-brainer.

Hopefully I can deliver something a little more impressive tomorrow. Until then...

Kind Regards,

Your Neighbor


First Impressions

A man came into the animal hospital last week with his cat, Blackie. When I asked what was wrong with Blackie, he said, "Oh she just lies around and cries like every other woman." I could feel the smile melt off my face, but I tried to stay pleasant. When I entered the room with the vet tech to take Blackie's temperature, the man gave me a look and said, "Well, what do we have here? A new lady doctor?" There was something about the way he said "lady doctor" that really rubbed me the wrong way. I'm not usually like that. I think I have pretty thick skin. In this situation, I'm not a doctor AT ALL so I really don't know why I was so offended, but I was.

So, when Mr. Really-Gets-On-My-Nerves showed up with Blackie again today, I thought of my renewed interest in this project and I kicked up the kindness a few notches. This led to a lengthy conversation about his life. He was married to a "cat lady" who fed and cared for over 20 strays at the warehouse they owned. Blackie and three others came home with them and became their personal pets. His wife died last year. He doesn't have any family in the area... just the cats who he refers to as "his girls." Every Saturday night, he goes out for a steak dinner by himself, and he brings a piece home for the girls. And, if that doesn't break your heart, what will?

I'm really glad I gave him a second chance to make a first impression.

Kind Regards,

Your Neighbor