“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” – Aesop. In a world where we can be anything we want, choosing to be kind is a decision we can make daily. A kind word, loving gesture, or good deed can brighten someone else’s day and make you feel good at the same time. Imagine the impact you could have on the world as a whole if you chose to say one kind thing per day for a week, a month, a year or more! Like a pebble dropped in a pool of water, the ripple effect of your choice to be kind to another soul could reach across the world, given time.
Kindness is an attractive quality to possess. Too many people in this world have a negative, unkind outlook on the world around them, and being around that kind of person can be draining for the tenderhearted. Someone who really cares about others and shows those around him or her compassion and kindness make other people feel valued, important, and recognized. Kindness in action can turn an everyday transaction into something special. By infusing your actions with kindness, you may transform a negative, stressful situation into something manageable, or even pleasant.
It’s not that hard to extend kindness to another. Since we’re currently in the midst of winter, seasonal colds and illnesses like the flu are hitting our co-workers, neighbors, classmates, and friends. If you notice someone missing from their desk for more than a day or so, why not leave them a kind note saying you noticed their absence? If you know someone is ill, start a meal train of volunteers who can bring them a hot meal until they’re back on their feet. Something as simple as an unexpected container of soup could warm someone’s heart and soul in addition to their body. Add a get well card and let them know you’re thinking of them and wishing them well.
Spreading warmth can be accomplished in many ways (besides a pot of soup!) and finding ways to show empathy and spread kindness in unexpected ways builds empathy, and that strengthens character. Pay someone a genuine compliment, pick up the tab for a stranger in front of you in the lunch line, allow that driver who’s in a hurry to get in front of you. If you simply look around you, you’ll soon find an opportunity to be kind to someone. Roman statesman Lucius Annaeus Seneca once said, “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.”
We all come in contact with other human beings on a daily basis as we live, work, run errands, go to school, church, the grocery store, the gas station, or walk the dog around our neighborhood. This month, February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day. Why not take one of these kindness ideas and make it your own?
- Write out positive thoughts on brightly colored index cards and leave them on:
- Co-workers’ desks
- Neighbors’ front doors
- Shoppers’ windshields at the grocery store
- Tables at the library
- Store shelves
- Leave a gas gift card at the pump
- Send a “thinking of you” card to a friend
- Donate used towels and blankets to a local animal shelter
- Compliment the first five people you see
- Thank a soldier or first responder for their dedication to duty
- Bake cookies and put them in the lunchroom at work
- Take 20 minutes to gather shopping carts from the parking lot and take them inside
- Load up washing machines with quarters at a nearby laundromat
- Smile at everyone you see!
- Send a gratitude email to a supervisor or coworker who deserves more recognition
- Compliment a parent on how well-behaved their child is
- Take breakfast and a thank you card to a local police or fire station
- Buy several pairs of gloves at the dollar store and take them to a homeless shelter
- Call the parent, grandparent, sibling, child, or other relative you haven’t spoken to in a while and tell them how much you love and appreciate them
This month, whether it’s during Random Act of Kindness week or at any time, remember the words of England’s Princess Diana, “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” Whether you carry out your random acts of kindness alone, in secret, or grab a friend or two to go with you for the day and surprise as many people as possible with kindness, keep in mind that people may not remember what you say or do, but they’ll remember how you made them feel, and random acts of kindness are never out of season!