“Nothing can make our lives, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness.” –Tolstoy
According to Psychologies,” kindness is a new kind of bravery, an everyday heroism to counter the general culture of cynicism. By being kind, we take the risk of being had. It requires courage. Anyone can take advantage of generosity, and there are plenty of people who believe that others are only kind to them when they want something, or because they’re afraid. So it’s important to remember that being kind does not mean being a doormat: you still have to assert yourself and stand up for what’s right.”
So how do we become kinder? And how to find the right balance of openness and assertiveness? Psychologist Piero Ferrucci explains that it helps to consider kindness as a number of component parts:
• Empathy Trying to understand what’s going on in the mind of a friend who is angry, rather than responding in kind.
• Modesty Instead of boasting about our achievements or happiness, actively listening to our friends helps us feel happy just to be with them.
• Patience Rather than tut impatiently when the person in front of you at the checkout spends a couple of minutes chatting with the cashier, remind yourself how important these small human exchanges can be.
• Generosity Offering someone a gift, the benefit of your wisdom, or your time, helps you appreciate the pleasure of their company more than keeping these things to yourself.
• Loyalty Being trustworthy gives us the pleasing feeling of being true to ourselves, as well as to others.
• Gratitude Taking a moment to give thanks for our good health and good fortune, and recognizing how much we value our loved ones, makes us aware of how much we actually have, and lessens any feelings of regret or frustration.
So in February I thought it would be awesome to challenge you to do a random act of kindness everyday, it doesn’t have to be a grand elaborate gesture but I do think it should be intentional. Look for opportunities in every interaction. If you’re not sure where to start, here is some inspiration:
- Bring a healthy treat to work and share with your coworkers.
- If you walk by a car with an expired parking meter, put a quarter in it.
- Put your phone away and be present with those around you.
- Keep an extra umbrella on hand, so you can lend it out when it rains.
- Don’t interrupt when someone else is speaking. (It’s harder than you think!)
- Compliment someone to their boss.
- Join the bone marrow registry. Certain types of patients with blood cancers can survive only if doctors find a bone marrow match for a transplant.
- Leave a server a big tip for giving great service.
- Smile, just because.
- Tweet or Facebook message a genuine compliment to three people right now.
- When shopping, Let the person behind you at checkout with one or two items go ahead of you.
- While you’re out, give genuine compliments to the people you come in contact with.
- Get an email address for your kids and send them memories, achievements, awards, etc. Give them access to the address at 18.
- Cook a meal or do a load of laundry for a friend who just had a baby or is going through a difficult time.
- Give someone a book you think they’d like.
- Invite someone to dinner
- Say “thank you” to someone who made a difference. . . .Send a card to people who dedicate their lives to helping us – soldiers, police officers, fire fighters and teachers to name a few.
- Call your family, grandparents, parents, siblings, just to say hello and that you are thinking of them.
- Write something nice on that person’s updates who posts on Facebook constantly. They’re probably lonely.
- Pay the toll for the person behind you
- Encourage someone to pursue their dreams
- Donate unused items, clothes, electronics or toys to a local charity.
- Become a mentor.
- If you’re an Amazon.com customer, you can donate Amazon.com’s money to your favorite U.S. Nonprofit through Amazon Smile. It takes a total of 20 seconds to read how to do this and set it up. Then Amazon will donate to your favorite nonprofit each time you make a purchase.
- Donate to a food bank.
- Hold the door.
- Pick up a strangers’ tab when you’re out to eat.
- Help an elderly neighbor, (shovel the sidewalk, bring in the groceries)
- Plant a tree.
- When everyone around you is gossiping about someone, be the one to point out something nice.
- Deliver flowers, to local nurses at the hospital, nursing homes, where ever you could spread some cheer!
- Pick up litter.
- Be the light in someones day
- If you know someone is overwhelmed – perhaps by a new baby, family health issues, or something else – give them a call when you’re going out to the store. Ask if they’d like you to pick something up.
- Create a holiday to celebrate someone you love.
Want more ideas? Check out KindSpring for more inspiration!
You can even order Smile Cards, the idea behind them is to do something kind for someone and leave the Smile Card behind, so that they know someone reached out to them, and that they are invited to pay-forward the kindness and keep the ripples going!
To request Smile Cards, visit KindSpring here. A volunteer will mail you an order of ten cards within two weeks. Smile Cards are offered to anyone who requests them on a pay-it-forward basis. What that means is, there is no set charge. Someone before you has paid for your cards, and you are invited to keep the chain going and pay-forward whatever you wish for the next person! For special events or circumstances, you can also place a bulk request.
According to, Birju Pandya “The [Smile] cards were a pocket-sized prompt to be a better person! I began to realize that what I was carrying wasn’t just some nice cards — I was carrying the potential for generosity in every interaction.”
Kindness has the ability to transform your perception of those around you-give it a try! How has being kind changed the way you live your life? Leave a comment I would love to hear your story!