The Power of Everyday Kindness & Gratitude

Written by Matthew Lovitt

“Big things come in small packages.”

“It’s the small things in life.”

“Good things come to those who wait.”

I have heard these lines a million times in my relatively short amount of time in this world and have always dismissed them as simple minded, narrow quotes that fail to acknowledge the complexities of life and hold almost no real world significance. However, years of misguided materiality and the endless pursuit of the latest and greatest “things” have proven futile in my efforts to live a meaningful existence. It wasn’t until I was able to truly appreciate and share the significance of the little things in life that I was able to exist in and project love and gratitude.

In today’s fast-paced world where everything is bigger, better and widely available, it is easy for me to get caught up in the cycle of instant gratification and diminishing satisfaction. Always looking for the next great toy, I quickly forget that all the luxuries in this world are just that, luxuries. None of the material goods that I desire hold any significance in the grand scheme of things and do not provide me with the comfort or security that I naively believe they will be able to offer. Further, the more stuff I accumulate, the farther I fall from acceptance and developing lasting, honest relationships with others. By no means am I advocating the adoption of a monastic lifestyle completely absent of all worldly pleasures. Rather, personal experience has taught me that most of my wants can be satisfied with a fairly modest lifestyle and quality relationships.

The little things in life have more power to change the value of my life than all the fancy gadgets or trendy clothes that money can buy: the passing smile of a stranger; a cold mineral water on a hot day; an ‘I love you’ note waiting for me in an unexpected place; and other seemingly insignificant experiences. Knowing how these simple things can greatly impact my existence, I can strive to provide the same life-changing experiences to others through similar small gestures. By allowing a fellow motorist to merge in front of me, asking the grocery store clerk about her day, cleaning the toilet without provocation, I am able to simply express my appreciation for others and perhaps brighten another’s day.

If I continually fight to keep pace with the world of ever-evolving technology, accessibility and materiality, I will only push myself further away from true happiness and fulfillment. Understanding and living a simple life devoid of envy, desire and greed is the easiest way for me to find peace, love and acceptance.

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