Thoughts on Kindness

“No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop

I’ve noticed a lot of little things lately that have made me stop and smile. Little kindnesses left behind for others to enjoy. And we could all really use it right now.

Here are a few photos and a couple of ideas from “100 Ways to Be Kinder.”

  • Pay for the person behind you at the drive thru. Whether it be a coffee or a whole meal. Make sure to stay anonymous and relay a friendly message to the person like “Have a nice day!” or “Spread kindness and pay it forward”.
  • Leave a gift for someone in a random public place such as on a park bench, at a bus stop, the library, a coffee house, or restaurant. You can even stick around and catch them finding your gift to see their reaction!
  • Donate your used books and/or magazines to a local library.

love

  • Send someone you know who is going through a difficult time a card, flowers, cookies or some thoughtful expression that lets them know that you care and are thinking of him or her.
  • Hide notes of encouragement in your spouse’s or child’s lunch box or in a coat pocket, shoes or other place where he or she will receive this nice little surprise.
  • The next time you have exceptional service at a restaurant make sure to tell the waitperson’s manager what a fine job they did, either in person or in writing.

inspire

  • Give up your seat on the train or bus to an elderly or pregnant person, or someone who looks tired.
  • Leave a newspaper, magazine or even a book at a coffee house once you’ve read it for the next person.
  • Be kind to someone you dislike by going out of your way to say hello and how are you. This could be the start of an unexpected friendship.

sun

  • Say “thank you” and “please” as generously and often as possible.
  • Use less energy by remembering to shutoff lights, carpool to work, turn down the heat, use CFLs instead of regular light bulbs, and other kind measures to help take care of our precious environment.
  • Pick up the clothes from the floor of the department store that others have mistakenly dropped.

It seems to me that the key to kindness is to look beyond ourselves and to focus on others. Scrawl love notes in sidewalk chalk. Leave sunshine behind. Tell someone they inspire you.

Another thing that I continue to work on is being aware of and minimizing my impact on others. I’ve discovered this can be its own form of kindness. Pick up after myself. Don’t block someone’s view. Return someone’s smile or hello. Hold the door instead of letting it fall shut on someone. Say thank you (the absence of which is one of my biggest pet peeves). And say please. Put grocery carts back. Don’t block the path or progress of others during my runs. That sort of thing. I am forever finding things to improve upon and will continue to fall short, but I’m working on it.

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