Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness

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

A random act of kindness is doing something nice for someone other than yourself without wanting anything in return. The beauty of kindness is that one simple gesture can make a difference. The “power of one” has the capacity to spread like wildfire. It makes the world a better place. I’m challenging you to do something kind for someone today. It can be a friend, family member or a complete stranger. It doesn’t have to cost tons of money,  or may be completely free...so don’t let that stop you. Times are tough. Many people are crabby, down or stressed. Brighten someone’s day. Bonus points if it’s anonymous. You’ll be SO happy you did. One of my favorite quotes is..."Today, give a stranger one of your smiles.  It might be the only sunshine he sees all day."  -From P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. It's amazing that something so simple, that takes hardly any effort at all...can add extra sunshine to someone's day! And the most amazing part...is what it does to yours.

Here's how I spent part of my day today...

Welcoming our new Neighbors!

Thanking our current ones for being so wonderful!

And...Saying Thank You to one of the nicest, most helpful Sales people...I've never even met!

Here are some ideas of great RAOK...

THANK-YOU NOTE: Write a thank-you note to someone today. There are so many people we encounter in the course of our day who might not feel appreciated. They don’t expect thanks, but they are certainly deserving of it. If you don’t feel up to writing, then give someone a sincere compliment.

LOOSE CHANGE: Leave some loose change somewhere. It can be in a vending or gumball machine, pay phone or toll plaza. One reader, Christina from New York, shared: “I gave up my quarter in the grocery cart so a woman wouldn’t have to fumble to find one in the cold. It made me feel great, and her surprise at the small kindness was super.” Feeling more generous? Leave a big tip next time you dine out, or leave coupons on a grocery-store shelf.

LISTEN: When we ask someone how they are, how often does our attention trail off? Take time to really listen to someone. Seek out someone who is lonely, and spend time with him or her.

GIVE: Think of someone to send an anonymous gift to. Or do an act of charity. You can donate your time, items or skills. There are people who will truly benefit from this selfless act. Start a group that gives to a cause. It can be a charitable craft group that knits caps and blankets for hospitals, a workplace food drive, a neighborhood aluminum-can drive, etc. Collectively, you can give so much.

SMILE: Make it a point to smile the day away. No one wants to see unhappy people. Refrain from being negative. You can help lift others simply by smiling. It’s infectious.

FOOD: Give a treat or meal to someone as a surprise today.

BE NEIGHBORLY: Share a plant or vegetables from your garden, shovel a walkway, offer your driveway if they have guests, bring their trash barrels to or from the curb, spend time talking with them, or share books. Speaking of books, you can release books you’ve read and share them with complete strangers. Visit Bookcrossing.com for more information on registering and tracking books you leave in public places for others to enjoy.

LOOK AROUND: Seek out ways to be kind, comforting, concerned and helpful. Take the focus away from your busy life and think about others. If there are loose shopping carts blocking other spaces, I’ll pick up one or two. Sometimes, I’ll take them to the "cart station" and sometimes up to the doors. Once I parked in one of my ‘way out’ parking spaces, and a guy was coming back past all these empty spaces to one right next to my car. He grabbed two carts and pushed them to the "cart station". I was leaving my car and picking up two. We just laughed and nodded at each other. It was awesome to see someone doing the same sort of thing.

 Often, we hear about kindness given but not enough about kindness that has been received. Have you received a random act of kindness? Please share. I would LOVE to hear.

Hoping your hearts are overflowing with RAOK. Both given...and received,


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