They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. But, given their inherent value, owning and looking after a metastable allotrope of carbon can also lead to anxiety and stress. If you don’t know what we mean, just watch someone searching for a misplaced pair of earrings or a wedding ring; it’s not a pretty sight.
But, loss almost always simultaneously offers an opportunity for someone to step up and be a hero. Take for instance the homeless man whose life was changed forever when one of these shiny stones found its way into his life.
A few years ago, Billy Ray Harris from Kansas City, who at the time was homeless and begging on the streets, became a news sensation thanks to his kind heart.
One good turn deserves another.
When a woman mistakenly dropped her $4000 engagement ring into a cup Harris was using to collect coins, he held onto the ring instead of selling it to a jeweler. A few days later, realising where she’d lost her ring, Sarah Darling returned to Harris and was reunited with her prized possession.
Subsequently, Darling and her husband set up an online donation page to help get Harris off the street. Touched by his honesty and kindness, more than 8000 people donated close to $192 000. Harris was able to buy a home, find a job and was reunited with his long-lost family who believed him to be dead. The actions of Harris called the world’s attention to simple acts of kindness.
“Kindness can jumpstart a cascade of positive social consequences,” says Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California. “Helping others leads people to like you, appreciate you, to offer gratitude. It also may lead people to reciprocate in your times of need. Helping others can satisfy a basic human need for connecting with others, winning you smiles, thankfulness, and valued friendship.”
Clinical psychologist Jo Lamble from Sydney told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper last year: Being kind lowers our stress levels, which means less cortisol running through our system, lower blood pressure, better sleep, and stronger immune systems.”
Chinese research claims that being kind can also make you more attractive to others. In the 2014 study, researchers discovered the existence of the ‘halo effect’, whereby subjects were considered more attractive by others if they showed positive personality traits such as being pleasant or kind.
Harris was simply doing what came naturally to him, but by following his simple, honest example, you’ll be impacting positively on others and changing your life at the same time.