Random Acts of KindnessNov 15, 2021
By Hayley McDonnell.
World Kindness Day is celebrated annually on 13th November. On this day, all those involved strive to make the world a better place by promoting good deeds, celebrating positivity and pledging acts of kindness, either as individuals or as organisations.
Kindness is entirely inclusive in nature, and there are no overt relationships with religion or politics, which helps strengthen its human connection. The day's aims are pretty simple; creating a kinder world by inspiring individuals and nations towards greater kindness and taking part is straightforward. Simply complete a good deed, a kind act or pledge to complete one in the future … and do it, of course.
Is it easy to be kind? Is kindness the opposite of selfishness? Does altruism exist? The temptation to be lured into the world of psychological theories relating to egoism is tempting; however, I will swiftly reference real-life examples of individuals who have at least altruistic traits, namely Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King.
Let's begin by considering did either of these two act without feeling a "warm glow" after they had helped, supported, cared for or guided someone in their life. Irrespective of whether they did or didn't, we know that both wanted to be part of a world where they could make a positive difference in the life of others. The only difference is that their actions are well documented and well known to us all. I argue that essentially we all want to be part of a world where we can make a positive difference to the lives of others and, of course, ourselves.
Indeed, the pandemic we are all acutely aware of has given rise to the number of small acts to "Love thy neighbour". Help at this time is willingly given because of the overwhelming sense that we are all part of this new and unwanted community. Some are more concerned about whether their family members could contract the virus or if they are unknowingly spreading the virus themselves than they are with acquiring it. Then there is the debate about mask-wearing to grapple with. Kindness on a much smaller scale can be simply helping at a charity shop, volunteering at a soup kitchen, shopping for an ill or elderly neighbour.
With world kindness day as a focus to home in on, I conclude with small acts of kindness which anyone can do, which will have a direct and immediate impact on the recipient. I will throw in a caveat here by saying don't just restrict yourself to one day to be kind; make it part of your everyday behaviour and do so in the knowledge that you are making a positive difference to someone else's life. Hopefully, lots of these you do anyway.
- Put 50–100 paper hearts or smiley faces in a box. On each cutout, write something unique about your spouse/partner or a good friend. Give them the box to pull out a heart or smiley face anytime.
- Find opportunities to give compliments. It costs nothing, takes no time, and could make someone's entire day. Don't just think about it. Say it.
- Hold the door for someone.
- Let a parent with young children in front of you in the grocery line.
- Allow someone to pass in front of you when trying to leave a junction.
- Say thank you to someone who made your life a bit better today, a group fitness instructor, your child or spouse, the neighbour who dropped a misdirected piece of mail off on your doorstep.
- Send a thinking-of-you text.
- Make eye contact with anyone who serves you, cashiers, dry cleaners, baristas, receptionists, medical personnel, house cleaners, car washers, etc. By doing so, you are acknowledging the human connection present.
- If you see one person taking a photo of someone else, offer to use their camera and take a picture of them together
- "Like" every photo in your Instagram feed. If you have time, leave sincere comments.
- Bring in your neighbour's recycling bin.
The long-term benefits of dialogue are improved relations and cooperation in the community, often enabling further development through social and political action. This greater understanding of our thoughts and the discovery of different or similar points of view enhance collaboration opportunities with all involved. Dialogue brings slow and lasting results, changes within the community and works towards finding purposeful solutions.
Your collaboration and discussion prompts are found here. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas, so reach out and share.
Social: What opportunities can you find where you can be kind to others?
Moral: Should we be kind to others if we don't feel that others have been kind to us?
Spiritual: Is kindness the most important characteristic we should have?
Cultural: Would you describe your family, neighbourhood, town or country as kind?
Hayley McDonnell is a Personal Development/SMSC consultant and author intent on bridging the gap between countries, cultures, customs and ultimately people with “Global Collaboration” Her aim is to make our world feel smaller by connecting with our similarities and embracing our differences. She loves to travel and meet new people from different backgrounds, countries and cultures. You can find out more about Hayley here.
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