One of the easiest ways to connect with others – both those you know and those you don’t – is by committing “random acts of kindness”. We call them random because they are random to the receiver of the kind act, but for the person doing the kind act, it is a conscious commitment on their part. This week, we’re connecting with others by committing to kindness.
Spreading Kindness Like Butter on Toast
When you spread butter across a warm piece of toast, it is easy. Effortless. This is how easy spreading kindness should be. Easy. Effortless. But, let’s face it. We don’t create the time or opportunities to help other people out as often as we could/would like to/should. We get wrapped up in our own life and fail to look in front of us to see the people who surround us on a daily basis and how we can easily do little things to lift them up, connect to them and make them feel worthy. This week’s challenge is to do a number of “random acts of kindness” in a single day ( I suggest 5) and report back on what happened.
Why 5 Acts of Kindness in One Day?
Doing one thing in a day is great, but doing several of these in the same day will give you a jolt of connection unlike any other. I’m looking to get you to experience several interactions with others around you that you normally wouldn’t. This is stopping to chat with the cashier at the grocery store and REALLY paying attention to her. Taking the time to tell the manager of the restaurant that the waiter who served your lunch did an amazing job. Holding the door open for someone behind you when entering a building. Buying lunch for a coworker. Leaving a note/gift card in the airplane pocket. Leaving a good book at a coffee shop with a note for the person who finds it. It can be a monetary thing, but it doesn’t have to be. One of my favorite things to give away? SMILES.
Because they are free. Because we feel “seen” when someone smiles at us. Because the person receiving your smile can need it more than you will ever know. And because I heard a story once that forever changed the way I look at smiles and how freely I will connect with strangers to share a smile.
In the 1970’s, Dr. Jerome Motto was a psychiatrist working with a patient who committed suicide by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. The New Yorker details how traumatic this experience was for Dr. Motto:
“I went to this guy’s apartment afterward with the assistant medical examiner,” he told me. “The guy was in his thirties, lived alone, pretty bare apartment. He’d written a note and left it on his bureau. It said, ‘I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.’ “
Surely, you have a smile that you can give away…especially now that you know that it may actually be the reason that someone chooses to continue living.
Are You Up For the Challenge?
This week, pick a number of random acts of kindness to complete IN A SINGLE DAY. As mentioned, these can be EASY and FREE, so this doesn’t need to be time consuming or expensive. Just commit to a number (I suggest 5) of kind acts to complete in a single day and then watch how you notice connection building between you and the people you interact with during the day. Notice how your mood shifts. Notice how you feel. Once you have the jolt of connections, I’m sure you’ll be looking for ways to increase your connection with others more regularly by using random acts of kindness.