Let’s refocus our gaze on something very important in this world: being kind. I hope these ideas inspire you to initiate a couple random acts of kindness today, because it’ll make the world a better place–for all of us.
“It’s all really very simple. You don’t have to choose between being kind to yourself and others. It’s one and the same.” – Piero Ferrucci
We’ve all experienced challenging moments. We’ll probably never fully grasp the battles which some are still fighting, and so we never really know how far our kind deeds will go. One small moment of compassion can spark a shift in someone that might then redirect the course of their day, and maybe even their life.
The world needs you to spread kindness to as many people as you can; the world is craving that kind of contribution. This place needs more light.
Do something to better the world around you today, however meager that something might seem. It doesn’t really matter what shape your kindness takes; what matters is the sincerity of the energy behind the intentional action. A simple word of understanding can go a long way.
Regardless of where and how you send your kind vibes, as long as it’s from a genuine place of unconditional love, you will receive kind echoes in return.
Inspiring Random Acts of Kindness: 7 Thoughtful Ways to Make the World a Better Place
1. Express Your Appreciation
Being told you’re appreciated is one of the simplest and most incredible things you can ever hear. We all want to feel and be appreciated–it doesn’t matter what for–because that reminder of our worthiness can have a profound impact on the way we see ourselves.
Tell others how much you appreciate them and all that they do. Thank your parents, children, siblings, friends, coworkers, boss, employees, postal worker, waitress, and anyone you make a connection with today. Say “thank you,” a lot, and be totally present in your thanks.
If there’s someone you haven’t properly thanked, hand write them a thank-you letter (or send them an email) expressing your gratitude for their presence in your life. Better yet, read it to them in person. Or, pick up the phone and call them.
Write down what you’re grateful for before your head hits the pillow, and wake up with the words of gratitude on your lips. Just being in the spirit of appreciation opens the path to true abundance: the depth of being alive.
2. Pay It Forward
If you want to live in a kind world, become the kindness. Set the wheels of kindness in motion by paying it forward, without expecting to be paid back.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Let someone go ahead of you in line, especially if they’re rushed.
- Buy the coffee for the person behind you in the drive through.
- Pay the toll for the person behind you at the toll booth.
- Send a drink or dessert to the other table at the restaurant.
- Bake your neighbor a cake.
- Mow an elderly neighbor’s lawn.
- Bring tea or coffee to your friend at work.
- Send an anonymous bouquet of flowers to the receptionist at work.
- Offer to do the chores for someone who just became a new mom.
- Wash someone else’s car.
- Give up your seat on the bus.
- Offer to be the designated driver.
- Babysit, pet sit, or house sit (for free) for the couple who needs a date night.
The most important condition–and often the biggest challenge–of sincere kindness is to not expect anything in return. What you will receive is something that cannot be bought at the store.
The truest form of kindness is that which is offered with sincerity and gratitude.
3. Share Something Positive
It’s important to know what’s going on in the world, but it’s equally (if not more) vital to absorb stories of goodness and greatness so that our inner light stays inspired. What we hear about on the news is only part of the story; for every negative thing we see, there’s something positive happening that we haven’t seen.
The human spirit craves joy and peace, and it does exist.
- Find the good news. Research uplifting news stories online, search the newspaper for them, and share them with at least one other person today.
- Share an inspiring quote. Here’s an ongoing collection.
- Post happy sticky notes. Write down happy thoughts on sticky notes and post them in random places, like on your coworker’s desk, on your loved one’s windshield, or on the school’s bulletin board.
- Stop the gossip. When a group is gossiping, be the one who has something positive to say. Talk about what you want to experience.
- Give up complaining. Take it one day at a time. In order to stop complaining (even for one minute), you’ll have to practice a deeper level of self-awareness.
4. Remember the Good
Look for the good in everyone, especially when you’d rather not.
Those who irritate us may be a reflection of our own inner struggles, or they may just be having a bad day themselves. Do your best to let it go and let it flow through and away from you.
Practice patience, approaching and responding with forgiveness, pausing before reacting, taking a step back from the situation, and choosing love when a situation is calling for love.
When you’re triggered to offer criticism from a place of irritation or anger, STOP. Pause. Take the more challenging route and ask yourself:
- How can I turn this negative into a positive?
- How can I be constructive, not just critical?
- How can I come from a place of love instead?
- Is it possible that I don’t know their whole story, inside and out?
Look for the good in the situation. Try to uncover the hidden meaning, lesson, or blessing. Train your mind to seek the good, the beautiful, the potential, and the hope in any given situation. This is a kindness mission, a goodness mission, a happiness mission. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
5. Speak with Love
There are three magical words that can never be spoken enough: I love you. You don’t need to be in love with any one person to speak or think these words; they’re meant for everyone (including yourself) and they’re meant to be spoken, thought, and chosen as often as possible.
Here are a few more ways to speak with love, and to be an example of love’s presence:
- Offer a simple, specific, sincere compliment. Doing this in front of others or in writing may hold more weight.
- Give a glowing recommendation.
- Smile and say “hello” to a stranger passing by. It’s okay if they don’t return the favor. Do it anyway.
- Smile more in general. This may sound simple, but not many people walk around with a smile on their face. It’s contagious and it’s a kind gesture to pass along the feel-good energy.
6. Donate Something
Donate your talents, strengths, time, energy, or material items.
Here are some ideas:
- Donate books to your local library or school.
- Donate canned goods to the food shelters (especially during the non-holiday season, when it’s not expected).
- Donate warm clothes to the homeless shelter.
- Volunteer at an animal shelter.
- Visit a nursing home.
- Send a care package to a soldier. Include a hand written thank-you note.
- Go grocery shopping and cook a meal for your neighbor, the new person in town, new parents, your parents or grandparents, or a single mom/dad.
- Donate your knowledge to someone interested in your field. Teach them a desirable skill like photography, web design, or cooking.
- Spend some time helping a friend or family member who needs help setting up their printer, rearranging their furniture, or raking the lawn.
7. Listen Intently
Listening to someone when they talk sounds like common sense, but it’s not always common practice. How much do we truly listen to what someone is saying, without plotting a response?
We all want to be heard, and sometimes we desperately need a caring person to just listen to our story, without trying to solve our problems for us.
A few thoughts to consider:
- Practice being sincerely interested and absorbed in what the speaker is saying.
- Actively engage your thoughts in their message without trying to formulate an answer.
- Don’t interrupt while they are talking.
- For clarity, paraphrase the speaker’s key points when prompted.
- Make sure everyone in a group conversation feels included and heard.
To truly listen to another human being, without interfering, is one of the most powerful displays of compassion and respect we can offer.
- What have you done lately to spread kindness? What can you do today?
- Has someone else done something nice for you lately, and how did it make you feel?
- What, from this list or another, would you like to try next?
Please share your thoughts, favorite acts of kindness to commit, lessons in compassion, and any inspiring stories of kindness with me in the comments.
Share these random acts of kindness with someone you care about (that’s an act of spreading kindness in itself).
Never get too old, too young, too busy, too tired, too stressed, or too anything to be kind. It always matters.