Who is the Kindness Junkie and why did she start 60 Seconds to Kindness?
I'm Tae and I've overcome 25 years of physical and personal challenges. At the age of 27, doctors discovered a congenital kidney defect which resulted in surgery on both kidneys, lifelong impairment to kidney function, and the inability to carry a baby. Then came three surgeries to remove pre-cancerous cells from my cervix; two short marriages ending in divorce; the loss of my mother to aggressive, painful cancer; and finally, being diagnosed with a chronic illness at the age of 44, which left me disabled and unable to work.
When you have a chronic illness where you involuntarily sleep 10-12 hours a day and can barely lift your head off the pillow, sadness, despair, and self-pity begin to permeate your every thought. Soon, days turned into weeks, then months, then years, and it became apparent that the life of the formally vivacious, active, “Type A”, driven career woman would be changed for good. From a young age we are taught to get good grades, go to college, get a high-paying job, and climb the corporate ladder to achieve the American dream. But what happens when you are suddenly no longer capable of that? You feel like a failure and as though you no longer have a purpose in life. WHY ME???
During times of struggle, it’s natural for a person to think “Why me?” or “What is the point of living like this?” or “What do I have to offer the world?” Admittedly, there were dark days when thoughts of suicide seemed like the only way to end the pain and feelings of low self-esteem, lack of purpose, and value to others. Being bed-bound on the worst days and house-bound on the good ones did not help. When any physical, emotional, or mental stress put me back in bed, life looked pretty bleak. While healthy, I was an avid volunteer helping the elderly, the handicapped, and pet rescue organizations. In order to pull myself out of my despair, I realized getting back to helping others might be the key.I began to volunteer with a local hospice organization. Although it was often difficult to maintain the 1-2 hour weekly commitment due to my illness, the time spent giving to someone in a less fortunate position made me grateful for what I still possessed.
I began practicing acts of kindness to everyone I came into contact with: a customer service agent on the telephone, a grocery store clerk, a stranger on the street. I realized that no matter what someone might be going through in life, everyone was put on this planet for a purpose. Perhaps my purpose was not to raise the bottom line of a corporation’s profits, but to raise the consciousness of others to spread kindness in the world! I now blog about my journey to finding my purpose as the Kindness Junkie. I share inspiring stories and quotes on my Facebook page and website and I'm working on a book about kindness due out later this year.