Spread Random Acts of Kindness by Just Being Human

The concept of random acts of kindness has become ubiquitous in our social-media-driven, meme-focused lives. If not online, you’ve probably seen the bumper sticker: “Practice random acts of kindness.” More likely, however, you’ve done it yourself without thinking (or been a recipient, possibly without noticing). Kindness, random or otherwise, is not just a movement; it’s being a decent human being.

The idea of making kindness a thought-out, formal activity is not new. Most faith traditions encourage people to “do unto others.” In the 1960s, it was peace, love, and harmony. In 1970s Los Angeles, there was even a mystic tribe — or cult, depending on your point of view — that lived by the “Aquarian” principles summed up simply as “just be kind.”

Today, there is an actual organization, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, that gives readers lessons in practicing kindness, with days and weeks specifically dedicated to that sort of action. Today’s world is hectic, and we often get busy, but you don’t need to view a random act of kindness as an item on a to-do list.

“Give a smile, get a smile” is a very true statement. When checking out at the grocery store, look at the cashier, say “thank you,” and smile. Chances are very good you will get one back. It will make your day — and the cashier’s.

Think of kindness as a reciprocal practice: When you get on the elevator and ask at which floor the people entering after you are getting off, that’s a random act of kindness. After you get out, maybe someone will hold the door open for you when you get to your destination; in that case, you’ve just been paid back. Continue to pay it forward with a quick “thank you” and “have a nice day.”

Many see actions such as volunteering or buying a homeless person a meal as the only ways to give back. While those are both excellent endeavors, kindness in today’s hustle-and-bustle world can be as simple as acknowledging that someone exists. Everyone can be an ambassador of kindness.

All great things began with a moment. One person’s smile may be a random act of kindness, but to the recipient, it may be the moment that changes everything. We all can be that potential change for someone simply by being kind.

Image source: Flickr