I believe in human kindness. I do. And I try to consciously act in a way that leaves the world a better place, one person at a time.
And I model it for my daughters. Maybe its because so much of me wants to leave a better, more compassionate and supportive world for them. It might be because I’ve put my trust in humanity during very trying situations and humanity has cared for me and kept me safe. Maybe its because its the way to do right rather than be right. And then I ponder how upside down our world feels right now, courtesy of national politics, and its better than putting my head under the sand and playing ostrich.
Believing in human kindness and doing something about it is my way to escape paralysis. Perhaps you are like-minded.
Here are some great ways to add more kindness to the world….
Say “hi” to the homeless. When my running team is on local trails, I always remind them that they may be the only person who says hello to a homeless person in that day. Think about the power of that hello.
Ask someone “how are you doing?” This means making eye contact and listening for an answer before responding. You might get some insights into someone who needs a little support or a kind word. It shows you care.
Pay a stranger a compliment. I love finding something to compliment another person for and then having the courage to say it: hair, clothing, smile, well behaved children. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving. Sometimes when I go to the grocery store with my daughters, I challenged them to do the same. They always return with a smile.
Wait just a little longer and hold a door for someone. This is such a simple act that can be done so many times a day – at school, at the grocery store, at the bank, entering a building. And smile inside if they don’t say thank you.
Help a neighbor. See someone sweeping their leaves? Grab a broom and join them. See garbage cans knocked over on the street? Return them to their rightful place on the side of the house. Know someone who is under the weather? Offer to pick up their groceries.
Pay it forward and pay for the coffee in the drive-thru lane for the person behind you. That feeling that that person will have when s/he drives up to the window to order is pretty incredible. And it might just spread to the car behind and behind and behind.
Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of Fixer Upper and now their branding of Magnolia Journal and TV, think like me…but they have a little more clout. They created their own kindness challenges that can be found on their website.
As we approach Thanksgiving, whether we have much to be thankful for or are feeling down and need a little help getting out of that frame of mind, the downloadable acts of kindness they have on their site are a great way to work, challenge, and motivate yourself, your family, your friends, and even your co-workers.