Making Kindness Cool Again
Updated: Aug 5, 2021
Have you ever heard the saying, "everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about"? How often do you consider this? Sometimes we live in our own little worlds and think we are the only ones who have bad days or are struggling with internal or external issues. We project how we feel onto those around us and often forget, hey, they have their own stuff, too!
It can be easy to forget that every single person on this planet has obstacles and hurdles they have to overcome. Mostly because we are trained to pretend like we don't. We share the highlights of our lives, and tend to hide the things that keep us up at night and claw away at our minds.
When asked, "how are you?" it is ingrained in us to reply, "good, how are you?" even if we aren't. No one is actually asking us how we're really feeling, right? That's crazy!
What if we did? What if we made the battles we are facing known and recruited soldiers to help us in our fight? Would we feel more seen? More cared about? More authentic to who we are and how we really feel?
While this may be a tall order, and something us as a society would have to unlearn and then re-learn, the least we can do for the time-being is be kind and remember we all are fighting our own demons and just trying to survive the best we can. And to do that, I've compiled a list of RAK's (random acts of kindness) you can use to help make the world around you just a little bit brighter.
1. Smile / say hi to a stranger
We're all very accustomed to staring down at our phones as we walk to the train station for our morning commute, quickly avoiding eye contact with the person you almost bump carts with at the grocery store, and ordering your Starbucks coffee on your app so you have to interact with others as little as possible. What if we actually went out of our way to just give a simple smile to someone we pass on the street? And if we're feeling really crazy, say hello? Sometimes this is all it takes to switch someone's mood around. Something is triggered in our brains that hey, that smile was for me. I am seen, I am noticed, they wanted to say hello! A simple smile and greeting can truly do wonders.
2. Buy your mom/roommate/girlfriend/etc. flowers
Contrary to what we may believe, $7.99 daisies from the grocery store really do have the power to move mountains. This small gesture says, hey I was thinking about you and thought you deserved these pretty flowers. The receiver of these automatically feels more loved, more upbeat, more seen. Little things like this let others know you're thinking of them and want to make them smile.
3. Pay for the person behind you at the coffee shop
As someone who worked at Dunkin' Donuts for three high school summers, I can say first hand there is nothing sweeter than someone saying, "I'd like to pay for the order behind me as well". It only costs you a few extra bucks, and you are guaranteed to make that person's morning! Not to mention, this can trigger a spiral effect of good deeds, as once we receive an act of kindness, we are instantly spurred to spread the joy.
4. Give a compliment
"You look nice today!" "You rocked that presentation!" "I'm so proud of you!" While this is the bread and butter of those with the love language of words of affirmation, everyone loves a compliment. Especially an unexpected one! Sometimes a little ego boost does just the trick.
5. Leave an extra-generous tip for your server
Anyone in food service knows the stressors around tips - ease their worries and give a little extra! The appreciation they will feel is sure to go a long way.
6. Bring a baked good to a neighbor
Nothing says kindness like a homemade chocolate chip cookie! This not only strengthens your neighborly bond, but lets them know they can lean on you (for a spare cup of sugar, for sure!). Spread a little sweetness with your favorite sweet snack!
7. Write to a former teacher to say thank you
There are people in our lives who leave lasting impressions on us. People who mold and shape us to be the people we are today. If you have one of those people, like a past teacher, take the time to email or write to them about how much of a positive impact they've made on you and how grateful you are for their influence. A great teacher deserves recognition, and boy, will it mean the world to them!
8. Text your loved ones your favorite thing about them
Something so simple that takes only a few minutes out of your day! We often forget to share how much we love the people in our lives, and especially the specific things we love. They might have no idea you think they're inspiring, or that you're so thankful for their shoulder to lean on, or that they're the best cook you've ever met. Let's normalize vocalizing our love more - if we say it more, we'll feel it more!
9. Plant a tree
Help give back to our earth! This will not only make you feel good, but will also help the environment. Not to mention, it will spruce up your yard! (pun intended)
10. Write 3 things you love about yourself and put them on your mirror
What's being kind if you're not kind to yourself?! Give yourself those compliments and look at them every single day. You deserve that self love!
There is nothing more powerful than spreading kindness - you are creating a domino effect which will in turn, make this world a better place.