Two years ago after being inspired by a friend, I posted some nice little tidbit on a different friend’s timeline for 100 consecutive days. I had fun doing it until I ran out of friends. Looking back at it now, I’m pretty amazed that I have 100 friends and happy to have had something nice to say about each and every one! Which brings me to my point — if we make the effort, we can find something nice to say about or do for practically everyone.
In the month of November with an eye towards Thanksgiving, some of us focus on gratitude. The days are getting shorter, holiday plans are being made, and we often take a moment to think about the people who make our lives better. These grateful thoughts of friends and family give a boost to the quality of our lives, and can help us live longer and healthier. All good stuff.
So why now am I beginning to think about the people who lean into a stranger? That person who pays the Starbucks tab for the car in line behind her. The one who pulls over to help change a tire. The parents who encourage their kids to donate Halloween candy to the children’s hospital. I am not that person. Not yet. (And probably not ever when it comes to tire-changing.) I wonder, what switch do I have to flip in order to think another way?
I mean, it’s not that I don’t care. I volunteer, I donate, I make soup for sick friends. These are acts of kindness, for sure, but they’re not random. What I’m addressing here is the randomness. It’s the kind act for the satisfaction in doing so, not for the appreciation you might otherwise receive. It’s doing a favor without asking for, or expecting something in return.
Here is the list I’m committing to accomplish before the end of the year.
- Let someone go in front of me in line at the grocery store.
- Put coins in someone else’s parking meter.
- Give a stranger a compliment.
- Drop off some health and hygiene items to a women’s shelter.
- Ask to speak to the store manager to specifically compliment an employee about excellent customer service.
- Return grocery carts to the designated area (in addition to my own).
- Give a waiter/waitress double the tip.
- Buy coffee for the person behind me.
- Compliment parents in a restaurant about their well-behaved kids.
- Write a good review on Yelp for a business or restaurant.
I know for sure that kindness unites, it doesn’t divide. And I think we all could use a bit of this right now, So in that spirit, I challenge you to come up with a kindness list of your own and share it with me. Maybe we can inspire others while we’re inspiring ourselves.