It was the end of a long, hard workout and I was exhausted. Everyone in the class had finished the routine and I was the last person struggling through a final set of burpees.
In case you’re unfamiliar with a burpee, it’s an insane exercise where you jump back into a plank, do a push-up, jump into a standing position, and clap overhead.
It’s one of my least favorite exercises .
As I pushed myself to finish, the voices in my head were loud and clear: You’re too old for this. Everyone’s stronger than you. You’re always the last person to finish.
As I attempted to stifle my inner crew, a young man with a kind smile, approached. “How many do you have left,” he asked.
Eight, I replied, gasping for air, ready to cave.
“Okay, we got this,” he said as he jumped back and started doing burpees with me. Surprised by this unexpected support, I instantly regained energy and laughed my way through the remaining set.
I was so touched by his kindness. In all the years I’d been going to gyms, I’d never had anyone do something like that and, at the end, I wanted to reach over and hug him (not cool – I didn’t).
It’s just that I felt so cared for by this stranger who noticed I was in trouble and offered a hand. Or, in this case, a whole body .
When I was young, my dad would sing a song recorded by Kitty Kallen called, Little Things Mean a Lot. He took the lyrics seriously and often did unexpected, sweet things for people, not just because he wanted to help, but also because it felt good.
While being kind to others is good self-care, it does feel good to be on the receiving end, too. Sometimes, when the world seems crazy and people appear to be so at odds with each other, I imagine a “time out for kindness” day where we all focus on giving and receiving support.
Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Anyway, the man at the gym inspired me and I intend to look for even more ways to surprise people with unexpected care.
Have you been the grateful recipient of an act of kindness? I’d love to hear about it. I get so many good ideas from this community and I’d love to read yours. Feel free to share stories and examples on my Facebook Page here.
To the young man at the gym who helped a gal in need – bless you. Now you’ve inspired us all .
P.S. – To learn more about my midlife journey, check out: Waking Up in Winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife. You can find info, here.
P.S.S. – There will be no Facebook Live Session this week while I’m traveling, but you can watch previous sessions on my YouTube channel at CherylRichardsonTV here. I will be participating in Norma Rubio’s “Inner Peace Master Class” launching on January 31st. Norma has designed an event that will help you cultivate inner peace, calm your inner critic, and add more meaning to your life. I’m honored to be in the company of teachers I admire – Richard Rohr, Sharon Salzberg, Dr. Dan Siegel and more. You can register here.