Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day. I’d like to take a moment to celebrate kindness with you, because we know everyone can use more kindness in their lives. Why? Because kindness simply makes you feel good. Kindness reduces stress, is good for your health, makes you happier and being kind hopefully encourages other people to be kind too.
Making a difference to the people in this world is a big driver for me, one of the main reasons I started Change & Ways.
My journey so far consists of conscious and purposeful acts of kindness in my workplace and home that have made people smile. Sometimes the good kind of karma pokes her head around the door as well!
My own Act of Kindness
A few years ago, my husband, son and I used to drive to school & work every morning. A 35 minute journey at the same time of every weekday. And at the same place, every morning, we used to see this older homeless couple, eagerly walking somewhere (to this day we still don’t know where they came from and where they were going) whilst carrying all their belongings on their back and in a trolley. For us, seeing them was a moment of reflection. To put things in perspective. We live in this bubble of comfort, with everything we need, but outside this bubble are thousands (if not millions) people struggling every day. Often we would talk about what we could do to help them, we had many ideas, but nothing ever materialised. Until one day, (it was a few weeks before Christmas I remember it well), I unexpectedly saw them in a shop – this time on the way home from work. I instantly turned the car into the car park, got out and started walking towards them. Not exactly knowing what I was going to do, but I wanted to do something.
I approached the couple, they looked dirty and the clothes on their backs were clearly the only ones they owned. But it was their faces that I will never forget. Their faces were a display of hardship and pain, but at the same time illuminated with wisdom and kindness. I was drawn to them and somehow awestruck. Adrenaline was running through my body – admittedly, it was the first time I was face-to-face with a homeless person – but I managed to compose myself quickly. I introduced myself and told them I saw them walking down the streets every morning which made them smile. I ended up giving them $50, all the cash I carried at the time. Their faces lit up and they expressed their gratitude, saying they will use it to buy some new clothes. Then they moved on. On a high, I walked out the shop, I felt amazing.
A Case of Inspiration
A week later, I went to bring back some blinds to the local DIY store. We’d just fit all the windows of our new house with new blinds, but this one was of incorrect size and I needed to exchange it. The lady at the customer service desk handled the exchange, but upon a closer look into my account she mentioned I was due back $50 from a previous error they had made. I couldn’t believe my ears and made her double check all the records whilst I looked over her shoulders. But yes, I was owed the $50. What are the chances! I tried to do a good deed by giving the older couple $50, only to receive it back. This is not how it was supposed to work! I sheepishly accepted the money vowing to use it for another good cause, which I did. Moral of the story? There probably isn’t one, maybe the universe was trying to tell me to keep up the ‘good work’, or maybe it was just pure coincidence. In any case, it inspired me to do more.
Kindness is a Drug with many Benefits
I am not kidding anyone though, I’m also in the kindness business for myself. Being kind does not only result in an emotional uplift for others, but also for ourselves. When we perform acts of kindness, we are being true to our own nature, and this naturally makes us feel good. Kindness is my natural drug and I’ll always be addicted to it. I hope to continue and make even bigger impacts where I can.
Being kind can mean many things, it could be showing compassion and thoughtfulness towards others, or it could be a spur-of-the-moment act of generosity or a valued commitment to a cause you believe in.
The Random Act of Kindness Foundation is a small not-for-profit organisation that invests their resources into making kindness the norm. How fabulous are they? They root in the belief that all people can connect through kindness and that kindness can be taught, they are encouraging everyone (today and any other day) to explore the good and to be kind. The RAK Foundation have plenty of ideas on their website on how you can contribute to a kinder world.
Even the smallest act of kindness can change a life. What will your act of kindness be today?