Random acts of kindness: how to make them a daily priority
It’s January. The start of a new year. How’s yours going so far? Has it been busy? A struggle to get going? Or has it been positive and encouraging? We are all different with our own situations so it’s possibly been a mixture of the above. My year has started not too badly. A mixed bag as they say. A slow first week back, getting the cogs turning again; starting something new to expand my horizons; completing important tax returns. We also started the year with a sad loss; a young man we didn’t know overly well personally, but who had made a huge impact on the lives he touched. It put life into sharp reality at the cusp of a new year. How long is long enough to live a good life? What matters each day that builds our character, our spirit, our humanity? How will we be remembered? I didn’t know the young man well, but I did know he was kind. And that got me thinking…how great it would be to be known for your kindness. It’s in our random acts of kindness that we can be known, make others known, and change the world.
So what is a random act of kindness?
Kindness is one of those things that is often overlooked and underrated in the wider world these days. And yet, it is the very thing that our world needs more of. Being kind is free. It costs us nothing, but somehow the world has trivialised it or made it into a weakness. Kindness, however, is the complete opposite of trivial. It has power that can change lives for the better and should be handed out lavishly every day.
Sometimes though, we can forget. I’m not saying we forget to be good people all the time. But sometimes life can get busy and we can forget to be kind on purpose. Being intentionally kind each day forces our focus away from ourselves and makes us take notice of the world around us. People, the environment, global situations…there is a lot to notice. And it can feel overwhelming. But that’s where the random acts of kindness come in. We cannot fix the world on our own. But we can save the world together, one random act of kindness at a time.
These random acts of kindness can take many forms and are often quick things that can change not only our day but the day of someone else. Shifting our focus from an, it’s all about me mentality, to how can I serve someone today, unleashes the power to change. The power to change you and others.
Here’s some examples taken from KindnessUK.com:
- Help an elderly neighbour take the bins out
- Send an appreciative text to a friend or family member
- Buy a coffee for the person behind you
- Call and chat to someone you think might be lonely
- Let a car go in front of you, particularly on a busy road
- Offer to look after a friend’s pet while they are on holiday
- If you walk past someone moving into a new home, offer to help
- When you’re on a busy train or bus, offer your seat to someone who looks like they need it more than you
- Pass on a good book when you’re finished with it
- Take a minute to help someone even if you’re in a rush
- Offer to do a food shop for an elderly neighbour
- Help a mother carry her pushchair upstairs
- Make a vegetable patch and grow your own produce
- Turn off electrical items at the plug socket
- Plant a tree – fast-growing, deciduous trees (that require little maintenance) provide most effective carbon capture
- Buy recycled and recyclable products
- Choose reusable products rather than disposable
- Help to create a new green space in the community
- Donate clothes to a charity shop or offer them to friends instead of throwing them out
- Recycle your printer cartridges to avoid damaging the environment
- Only take or cook as much food as you can eat to avoid wasting it
- Turn the lights off when you leave a room
- When gardening, plant different types and species to support a range of wildlife
- Attract bugs and amphibians to your garden by creating a woodpile
- Feed ducks in the park
- Try to reduce your meat consumption e.g. have a meat-free day
- Make a bird house and leave bird seed out, particularly on wintry days
- Rescue an insect when it is trapped in the bath
- Take your pet for a walk and give it verbal reinforcements
- Help search for a missing pet
- Donate old towels or blankets to an animal shelter
- Make a bee home and fix it in your garden
As you can see, there are numerous ways that you can enact a random act of kindness in your daily life. Some are bigger and some smaller, but the enrichment that will result from it is incalculable. Having respect for life in all its forms is at the root of it all. When we can appreciate the beauty, diversity, fragility, and uniqueness of our natural world and all who inhabit it, we will naturally want to protect and nurture it through these random acts of kindness. And this too has a knock-on effect, for wherever kindness is sown, a seed is planted and new kindness will be grown.
Be the change you want to see
Start small. Be deliberate. Live on purpose. See change happen.
Nothing good will ever happen in our world unless we make conscious choices to invite it or be it. We must be willing, aware, compassionate, sensitive, diligent, and daring people. Make good choices. Start today. Each day, take one of the listed random acts of kindness and complete it. Look around you and see where you can be of service today. If our lives are not lived in service of others, we are only living a half-life. Living for others, being of service, gives such purpose, fulfillment, and joy to you and those you serve. So go out and be kind with abandon. You’ll see your life and your world around you change for the better.
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