Circles of Kindness

Well, Happy Tuesday, everyone! Abbi isn’t quite ready to return to the real world after the long weekend. I hope everyone enjoyed their time off.

It’s time for an Abbi chat. It’s been awhile, I know. So, no better time than now, right?

Today’s chat is about kindness. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the terms circle of friends or circle of life. I’d like to propose something called the circle of kindness. And while the quote above doesn’t address kindness directly, it’s appropriate to the conversation.

Onward and upward. 🙂

The best way for me to explain this is by example.

I’ll start with a patient from my work. A phone conversation with her a couple of weeks ago was a lesson in how many swear words someone could throw at a person over the phone. I was the person on the receiving end. It wasn’t fun obviously but it seems to me more and more that patients have multiple stressors to juggle (illness, finances, family). This type of situation is bound to happen.

The patient wasn’t happy and she obviously needed to vent. So, Abbi followed her general M.O. and let the patient talk (or swear). I listened, commented and addressed her concerns and offered to help. The goal, as always, was to get the patient back to dialysis. What I didn’t do was respond back with the same aggression. At the end of the call, the patient hung up on me.

She returned to dialysis the next day and I showed up to see her as promised. I thought since the patient had hung up on me that she was upset with something I did. I didn’t expect to have the charge RN call me saying she was in for her scheduled dialysis.

I had a long discussion with the charge nurse who had also been talking with this patient. We agreed that she probably wasn’t used to having people acknowledge her emotions. She hung up on me because she didn’t know how to deal with someone who wasn’t tossing the anger right back. Or throwing their hands up and saying, “I give up. Figure it out for yourself.”

Since then, with the exception of a few bumps, the patient has been nice and attending dialysis. The circle is complete for the time being. I am certain there will be other bumps but we know how to respond and allow her to talk to us.

I’m thinking this patient sees the kindness as a doorway to healing and appreciates our efforts. I hope so.

There are times when the circle of kindness can’t be completed as quickly. The circle is started but never completed because someone in the circle doesn’t recognize the kindness, or, in the case of my patient, isn’t sure what to do with it.

So how do we handle an incomplete circle? Keep trying. Keep offering the kindness. We’re bound to get frustrated and that’s okay, just don’t make the person on the receiving end feel the same frustration. To be honest, in some cases, it could take a very long time.

Rabbi Kushner is right. We should be kind without expecting something in return. But, for the circle of kindness to be complete, the person receiving the kindness needs to appreciate what’s being put in front of them.

I’m ending with a quote from the insightful Iggy Frome (Tyler Labine) of New Amsterdam. Just like we need to look for the light, we need to be patient and wait for others to recognize kindness.

Abbi will be back with a post. Not sure of the subject. Only certain that it will have ‘little’ in the title. 🙂

Embrace Hope.
Abbi 🙂

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