Yesterday in church, the sweet old lady in front of me turned around, put her hand on top of mine, looked me square in the eye and so warmly said, “You have a beautiful voice.”
Two weeks ago, my intern, Sarah, and I were in the drive thru line at Panera’s for the usual grub when the guy said, “I threw in two cookies for you girls justbecause.”
You know what this world needs a whoooooole lot more of, like, yesterday? Kindness. And not just the kindness that comes in the form of a Pinterest-ready kindness quote or easily likable Instagram caption. Real, hard, genuine, wholehearted kindness. The effort kind. The kind that is oh so needed today, tomorrow, and the rest of forever. The kind that neither requires nor expects anything in return.
The lady in front of me in church didn’t have to give me a compliment. She could’ve gone about her day as normal, thinking whatever she would about my singing voice without sharing kind words.
The Panera’s worker could’ve just taken our money and given us our salads and bagels in typical lunchtime ho hum. He could’ve carried out a transaction, gotten paid accordingly, and gone home.
But she didn’t and he didn’t. Both went out of their way to be kind. And in doing so, it completely made my entire day (and week, lessssbehonest), having the potential to spark a whole slue of kind acts in return.
Be kind today.
It’s easy to think of hypothetical situations that would hypothetically warrant our own kindness in the future. Times when we predict it’ll be good and “worth it” to be kind, or times when a random act of kindness as seen on BuzzFeed would be perfectly fitting to DIY ourselves. But as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
Be kind today.
The world is a shitshow sometimes. It just is. It’s way too easy to turn on the news, flip open a paper, or hop on Twitter and be bombarded by negative press after even more negative press. People dying, killing, hating, and spreading harm. Unfortunately, the good stuff gets not nearly enough attention. So we’re left wondering…is the world just a mean, cold place? Is kindness a dying breed?
I refuse to believe it.
As cliche as it might feel, if we want the world to actually be a happier, lovelier, kinder place for our kids’ and their kids’ generations, it absolutely has to start with us. And it can start today.
Be kind today.
It’s too easy to assume the worst. And when we assume the worst, we act the worst.
The cashier seems unfriendly and forgets your change? How rude – how did they even get this job?!?
Someone cuts you off in traffic? What an ass – I hope he gets what’s coming to him.
Your 3 o’clock client meeting is late and arrives only to look right through you? Doesn’t she respect my time? I’ll never refer her to anyone!
When in reality…
The seemingly terrible cashier’s dog is sick, and her coffeeshop paycheck isn’t enough to pay for vet bills.
The seemingly reckless driver just got a call that his first baby is about to be born early, and he’s trying to get to the hospital.
The seemingly thoughtless client is having major problems at home, and she’s afraid her husband is being unfaithful – she’s heading home after work for a hard conversation ahead.
We judge assuming the worst – why not assume the best? Judgments can be harsh, or they can be kind. Yes, sometimes a kind judgment may be given in an “undeserving” situation (ie. the too-fast driver was really just being an idiot for no reason). But either way, your own mood and day will be better simply because you chose to be kind today for others.
Be kind today.
10 Random Acts of Kindness:
- Strive to genuinely compliment 3 people in your day. Whether it’s their singing voice or their shoes or their haircut or their sweet disposition, be kind today.
- Pay it forward at the coffeeshop. Whether that means paying for the person in line behind you, or telling the cashier to use the cash as a “wild card” to make a random person’s day, be kind today.
- Call someone up who has made an impact on your life but hasn’t heard it lately. Whether it was an old friend from high school or a mentor at work, be kind today.
- If the lady behind you at the grocery store seems to be in a hurry, offer her your spot in line. Whether or not her hurry is “worth it,” be kind today.
- Buy a bouquet of flowers and walk around the mall handing them out to unsuspecting strangers going about their regular shopping. Whether or not they think it’s weird in the moment, they’ll smile seeing that flower in a vase in their home, and it might be the only time they ever receive a flower from someone else, so be kind today.
- Make a food basket for a family you know, in your church or neighborhood or school community, justbecause sometimes coming home from a long day at work to make dinner for five is really, really tiring. Whether or not your casserole recipe is up to par, be kind today.
- Sneak a Post-It note into your neighbor’s mailbox with an encouraging, anonymous note amidst bills and junk mail. Whether or not they know it’s from you, be kind today.
- For the animal lovers in the house, check out your local adoption shelter and find out their adoption fee to take home a dog or cat. Leave the exact amount (if you can) for an adoption, and instruct them to use it for a sweet family that comes in looking to adopt a puppy or kitty. Whether you’re a cat or dog person, be kind today.
- The next time you pass a homeless person on the street asking for spare change for a meal, ask if you can buy him/her lunch. Whether or not they actually want the money for food, be kind today.
- At your next restaurant outing, over-tip your server, and ask for their manager – leave a great compliment. Whether or not service was excellent, be kind today.
How will you be kind today?
Can we get a kindness chain going in the comments? Literally whatever you feel compelled to say/leave, just do it. Whether that means offering an anonymous (or direct!) tidbit of encouragement to someone, dropping a kindness quote in a comment below, messaging someone with a $5 Starbucks gift card to send their way, sharing an inspiring news story with someone who needs a smile – anything. Even if it means sharing your own story of the kindness that you need! Let’s help each other out. Be kind today.