Kindness: noun: kindness
The novelist, Henry James, once said: “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
The importance of kindness cannot be understated. Nor can it’s power to impact another’s life be underestimated.
You may be familiar with the film ‘Pay It Forward’, in which when a class was asked by their social studies teacher to come up with an idea that will have a positive impact on the world, one little boy, Trevor comes up with the idea of ‘paying it forward’. To pay it forward would mean that if someone does something good for you, instead of ‘paying them back’, you would ‘pay it forward’ to three more people and they in turn would do the same. A central premise, however, is that the act of kindness would have to be something of significance that the recipient couldn’t do or achieve for themselves.
I think this is a wonderful idea. However, I think acts of kindness don’t have to be ‘big’ or of monumental significance to have a deep and lasting impact on others and ourselves.
In thinking of the idea of ‘RAKs’ or Random Acts of Kindness, I have come to the conclusion that ‘random’ doesn’t need to mean unplanned.
We can have it in our minds and hearts that we will do something for someone even if we don’t know for whom or at what time in the day or week that might be. For example, buying a sandwich or a bottle of water and keeping it ready to give to a homeless person that we might come across.
There are so many ways we can inspire each other to be kind, and to extend that kindness beyond ourselves and our own circle of friends and contacts.
Think about a kindness someone has shown to you. No matter how small. Think about how that made you feel, and don’t underestimate the power of the gift of kindness that you hold in your own hands to give to another.
I remember in school, I had been bullied and was very introverted, shy and had little self esteem. I felt in many ways, dehumanised. Years passed and in my final year of school someone showed me kindness. Not with any monumental act or deed, but in simply taking the time to show that they cared, that I was worth listening to, and getting to know.
It was a real shock to my system, for although I had by that time managed to make a few ‘friends’ I had never before felt that anyone in school actually *cared*. The kindness was quiet, yet palpable. I didn’t know how to accept that someone would want to be kind to me.
And yet, a small gesture ultimately set the wheels in motion for my heart to soften, learn to trust and for my life to change.
My heart is open to giving kindness to others. We may never realise the impact that even a small act of kindness may make not just in someone’s day, but on the trajectory of their whole life. Isn’t that in itself miraculous?
I’d like to encourage you to think about kindness today. How you can be kinder to yourself and to other people. What could you do to reach out or to reconnect?
Here are a few ideas to get you started. And don’t forget to ‘pay it forward’ 🙂 With love, x.
- Reach out to a friend that you haven’t connected with for a while.
- Write a letter to tell someone that you care.
- Give a homeless person a drink or some food.
- Write a random note or a postcard to encourage someone and leave it in a library book, in a coffee shop, or somewhere that someone you don’t know will find it.
- Tell someone they are wonderful, today.
- Be aware of the people around you and whether they need help – the old adage about helping ‘grannies’ across the street, isn’t such a bad one 🙂
- Inspire yourself by making your own list of ‘random acts of kindness’ that you can plan to do in the coming month.