What A Kind Word Can Do

What a kind word can doHere’s a shout-out to a lovely lady named Ann Best, who became my personal hero one day last month. On the same day I received a comment on my blog that ripped me as a person apart, Ann wrote this comment for me on a guest post I had written:

I’m so glad I subscribe to Story Dam or I wouldn’t have discovered you, Shelli. I read a sample of your book yesterday morning, got to the end of it, and thought, The writing is stunning! The best writing I’ve ever read in a self-published book. A breath of fresh air. The writing is up there with Hemingway and Carver, and other such great writers. It is JUST excellent. I would have read it all the way through yesterday, but my disabled daughter’s aide left and then I was on duty. It is an absolute page-turner. And you are amazingly skilled at using sensory descriptions to heighten your great skill with dialogue! I’m SO glad I found you. And I intend to write a review of your novel when I finish it!

She had no idea when she was writing it that I desperately needed to hear something positive, that my life felt like it was crushing down on me, that I felt like I’d been hit by a sledgehammer by everything else (that nasty comment, sick husband, sick child, anniversary of my father’s death, car problems, deadlines) that was going on around me. I choked up as I read it, part of it was a release of all the stress and part of it was that this woman, who was a total stranger to me, went out of her way to do something kind with no expectation of anything in return.

I wrote her an email, telling her how much her comment meant to me, giving her a dose of kindness back. Lo and behold, it turns out that she needed a kind word also. Here was her reply:

I’m so glad my comment lifted you. We all need positive comments, some days more than others. I had a very bad day today, when the aide for my disabled daughter didn’t show up, again. So it made me feel very good to know I had helped you. And you are very welcome to use my comment in a blog post. I consider it an honor.

Are we responsible for other people’s happiness? No. But that doesn’t mean we can’t offer a kind and supportive word, that we can’t do something to make their day a little brighter.

When was the last time you said something positive to a stranger? Please feel free to share your thoughts & experiences in the comment box below.

28 thoughts on “What A Kind Word Can Do”

    1. Hi Rich! My chin’s usually up. 🙂 That particular day was just a rough one & Ann made it a lot brighter. Thank you for the fabulous compliment. You, of course, are fantastic. Cheers!

  1. Hi Shelli, It’s great to see people connecting, encouraging and supporting each other, especially in terms of real life issues and not just writing. I’ve been speaking to a lot of writers recently about the self doubt demons which perch on our shoulders like evil parrots. You are one of the writers/bloggers out there who doesn’t shy away from deeper issues and I’d like to thank you for sharing that honesty. This really does help the people hiding beneath their armoured writers skin to feel like there is someone else out there dealing with the same things you are. It’s something I’ve talked about in my writing group and with writing friends. It’s a great help. Please try to cling on to how many people you help with your blogging and your wonderful prose. You’re very much a part of the creative community that gets me through my writing day, so thanks again for that. Edging my way towards Small as a Mustard Seed, at number 5 on my reading wish list 🙂

    1. Hi Tom! It really is great to watch people, a lot of times complete strangers, helping and supporting each other. Self-doubt is a really big issue, I know, & it’s also nice to know that you’re not alone, that somebody (or lots of somebodies) is in the same boat with you. Thank you for the great compliment & for reading my novel. You rock!! It’s fantastic for me to know that my blog is helping. 🙂

  2. C.E. Lemieux, Jr.

    Shelli,

    You are an amazing writer and a much needed inspiration to us all. I’ve shared so many of your posts on FB and twitter. Although I’d never wish you a bad day, it’s good of you to share that with us and to know someone else helped you through it. To borrow your closing, “Cheers” to you my friend. Thanks for always searching for the positives.

    1. Hi Chuck!! It’s so lovely to see you here on my blog. Thanks for the fantastic compliments; you made me smile! 🙂 Yes, it’s true, I sometimes have bad days, too, & I was so grateful to Ann (who was a complete stranger at the time) for lifting me up. I won’t forget her kindness (or yours right now either). Cheers right back!

  3. Hi Shelli,

    I understand 101% what you mean here, and thank you for sharing this with us. First, I must echo what everyone else has shared here; you are a wonderful writer, my friend! You’ve on several occasions inspired me to keep going… to just keep writing. I don’t really know you, but I feel like I do. And what I admire most is that I can sense through your written words, that you are a incredibly kind spirit.

    It was so very nice of that young lady to render such a uplifting gift to you in your time of need. It was even more uplifting and inspiring to see that you returned the favor to her, not knowing that she was in need, as well. That’s what it’s all about right there, my friend. The gifts we can give one another, and the difference they make in other people’s lives. Awesome share, Shelli! 🙂

    1. Hi Deeone! You are welcome & thank you for the fabulous compliments! You, sir, are also wonderful & big source of support for me, so I thank you for that. 🙂 Funny how you don’t know people in real life but it can certainly feel like you know them, maybe even feel like you’ve known them for a long time. You are so right, it is all about the gifts we can give each other and how those gifts can make a positive impact in someone’s life. Cheers, my friend!

    2. Of course you don’t know me, Deeone. But it’s nice to be called a “young” lady (lots of smiles) as I’m almost 72 years young!!

  4. Kindness always matters. It is especially important in writing, where the emotional involvement is so much a part of the field. Good on you for getting such a fantastic response – and good on Ann Best for giving it. A wonderful feel-good moment, and thank you for sharing.

    Matthew Wright

    1. Hi Matthew! You are so right that it’s especially important in writing, or in any arts field IMO, because there’s such an emotional connection to our work. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Cheers!

  5. What a great story! It is a good example we all should remember. Just a simple note of kindness can make a difference and touch someone’s life if not just for a moment, forever. You are the best…keep writing!

    P.S. I had to “share”. 🙂

    1. Hi Jerry! Thanks so much for the fab compliment. You, of course, ROCK! Thanks for the share, too. 🙂 I hope more people realize it doesn’t take a whole lot; just a simple note, like you said, can have a huge positive impact. Cheers!

  6. Thank you for your lovely, heartfelt, uplifting blog. It looks like you are having an impact on people; I read some of these comments and I can tell that. Myself, I wish I could get even a fraction of connection on my blogspot. I agree with you about the value of kind, encouraging words and I believe in their power to bless people. I use my blog, my Facebook page, and my social networking time to help people and to give back. I have also had bad experiences with people in my social network and because of this I believe that others connected to them have ceased talking to me. That really hurts as I have done NOTHING to those people who no longer talk to me. I’m glad I found your blog and I hope you will, when you get a chance, check mine out and follow me back!

    1. Hi Lisa! *waves wildly* You are welcome & thank you for the fantastic compliments. I think it’s great that you’re using social media to help people and give back. I know it hurts when people stop talking to you, and I’m sorry that happened to you. But you know, there are a lot of fabulous people out there & more worth your time pursuing, IMO, than people who will give you bad experiences. Life really is too short to focus on negative people who drag you down. I’m glad you stopped by & I will definitely check out your site. Cheers!

  7. Shelli: You are absolutely one of the loveliest young women I know, both physically and spiritually. You glow! It is so sad that there are people like the ones you and Lisa (above) have encountered who personally attack others. I suspect they do this sort of thing in the “real” world too, not just on the Internet. We just have to ignore it, which isn’t easy to do if we’re having a bad day.

    I just read your email about the error in my review . . . came over to see this first post, which is just lovely, and now I’ll finish the email. Have a GREAT day. And keep promoting your awesome book. And keep writing!!!

    Your friend, Ann

    1. Hi Ann! *waves wildly* I’m SO happy to see you on my blog!! Thank you for the fabulous compliments. Made me smile today. 🙂 Yes, I agree it is sad that some people choose to sling negativity on others & you’re correct that the only thing you can do is ignore it (and surround yourself with fabulous people to counteract it!). But you’re right, too, it was hard for me to ignore that day, not with everything else that was going on. You write on and have a great day, too. Cheers, darlin.

  8. Isn’t it amazing how moments in life like this come at just the right time? Keep on writing and believing in yourself, and try to let the negativity roll off your shoulders. There’s a lot of it in the writing biz.

    Good luck on book sales and kudos on self-pubbing!

    Erin

    1. Hi Erin! It truly is amazing about the timing, just when I needed it most. I love when that happens. 🙂 Thanks so much for the words of encouragement & well wishes. Best of luck with your own writing. Cheers!

  9. You never do know what other people are struggling with, and so it is always a good idea to be kind, isn’t it? I lost my job recently and in my job search I am deliberately seeking customer service jobs in places like doctor offices, hospitals and funeral homes where it really helps to have kind people working there. I may not be the smartest or the fastest worker, but I believe strongly in the value of kindness! I want to try to be nice to people for a living!

    1. Hi Linda! *waves* I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your job. *hugs* I am SO glad to hear that you want to be nice to people for a living. Yes, we don’t often see what others are struggling with & a little kindness really does go a long way. Good luck & sending happy thoughts your way. 🙂

  10. I am so glad that you shared this — I firmly believe in that people should always be mindful of what they say and do to others, because you never know what someone may be going through behind the scenes. I also believe in the power of a kind word–how a small sentiment of positive expression and mean SO very much to someone. Your experience shared here is a perfect example of that!! Thank you so very much again for this wonderful post!

    1. Hi Melisa! *waves* You are welcome & thank you for the fabulous compliment. I, too, am a firm believer that people should always be mindful before they speak/act. It’s amazing, truly, what a huge impact even a small act of kindness can have; I’m mindful of that now, too. Cheers to you! 🙂

  11. Christine Dorman

    Thank you, Shelli, for this excellent post. Kindness and affirmation are so important. You’re right; we’re not responsible for anyone else’s happiness, but it takes so little to give a bit of joy to someone else. I know that a kind word and even a smile have helped me when I’ve felt close to despair. By the same token, criticizing or (perhaps worse) ignoring someone might be the final thing that pushes someone off the cliff. Often little things make a big difference, including to the giver. There have been times when, like the lady in your story, I have given affirmation to others when I felt in desperate need of it myself. It may sound strange, but giving others what I need often helps me feel better. It helps me to focus on others and stop wasting so much energy worrying about myself. Blessings!

    1. Hi Christine! *waves* You are so right that it just takes a little bit, even just a smile from a stranger. And you’re right, too, that we never know how fragile a state someone might be in, so kindness matters all the time. I know that for me giving to others makes me feel better, too. Cheers, darlin.

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