I’ve made a mistake every morning lately. It involves turning on a national news program while I get ready for work. I’m not sure why I do it. Maybe it’s to cover up the silence of the morning and wake me up so I’m more ready to face the hustle and bustle of the day. But in any event, it’s got to stop. Reason being, it’s a terrible start to my day.
The news is filled with negativity. Each program begins with breaking news of a terrible tragedy, shooting or crime. When the news stateside isn’t horrible enough, the news is about crumbling economies, crooked politics or war and unrest somewhere else in the world. I certainly don’t want to diminish the importance of keeping up with what’s going on in the world. But I owe it to myself not to start the day on such a negative and depressing note. And, if you’re like me, I bet you could benefit from turning off the news too!
I also strongly believe in small acts of positivity and kindness. While I’m realistic enough to realize that one small act isn’t going to result in world peace, I do know for a fact that one small act can make an enormous difference for one person. And many small acts DO lead to positive changes.
Despite my often cynical-grump demeanor, I really love the look of delight on someone’s face when they are the recipient of a small gift of kindness. To see other people genuinely touched and sincerely pleased has such a wonderful effect on others around them. Many years ago when Oprah introduced the concept of Random Acts of Kindness (RAOKs) to her viewers, I was transfixed.
I feel that the joy of giving not only benefits the recipient, but also the giver tenfold. Better yet, the RAOK concept teaches us the valuable lesson of humility; of being humble. I challenge you to find a simple RAOK that is within your means and abilities in the following week. Provided you can preserve and maintain anonymity by divulging the details here, I would love to hear about it in the comments!
♥ Here are my ideas for Random Acts of Kindness ♥
Join an official ROAK campaign. The World Needs More Love Letters is a fantastic effort and one that I personally participate in. There are a number of ways to get involved: one is to join the mailing list and respond to calls for love letters. The other is to leave anonymous love letters in places where people who need them will find them. Check out the site for more details.
If you’re crafty, the folks at Urban Threads came up with a nifty little project: the Giving Bunny. Read the details on their blog HERE. They provide a free pattern, instructions and even a cute little tag you can print for the bunny. The gist of it is similar to the Love Letters. You make the bunnies and leave them in places where people can find them.
The stories at both of these sites are really heartwarming. People who find these little gifts tend to be people who genuinely needed to know that the universe cares about them. These tiny little gifts of kindness appearing at just the right time provide them with the the lift that they need.
Lend a Hand. Extravagance isn’t what this is all about. Give something within your personal means. Send a single mom or an elderly person a grocery store gift card. Put a $20 bill in the mail to a starving student. Leave some pet food at the doorstep of a dog/cat owner who is out of work. Drop off a gas card to family who is struggling to make ends meet. You don’t need to sign your name or imply that it’s an act of charity. You simply need to write a note that says “I was thinking of you and thought you could use this.”
Brighten Someone’s Day. It’s the little things that matter. Leave flowers for a co-worker. Bring healthy snacks (Trader Joe’s has some great ones!) for the office and leave them in the kitchen/break room with a sign that says “Help Yourself!” Send fun, anonymous cards to family and friends on a minor holiday. (like St. Patrick’s Day, April Fool’s Day, Earth Day, etc.)
Do Something Practical. Contribute something that makes other people’s lives easier. Scrape ice/snow off a neighbor or co-worker’s windshield. Leave an umbrella by the office door on a rainy day for people who forgot theirs’. Replenish/refill the things that are always being used up, even if you didn’t use any. (I’m talking hand soap, paper towels, copier paper, etc.)
The list goes on. I’m sure you can think of lots of ways that you can personally perform a small, random act that makes a difference for someone else. What are some ideas that I’ve missed? What will you do today?
All my best,
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