“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou.
As a kid, I was always asked – “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I don’t think I knew the answer then, but if I could advise that kid today, I would urge that kid to be wanting to grow up… to be kind.
The society we live in teaches us to be more competitive, more successful, more, more, and more! What it forgets to teach us is to be more human. How about wanting to be more kind? The greatest gift we humans have is the power to choose to be kind, in every situation, with anyone and everyone. It is ultimately your choice.
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” - Princess Diana.
Kindness has a ripple effect, and what you do for someone else, someone else might do that for you. Imagine what a world we would create where everyone had one goal, where they said to themselves, “no matter what happens to me today, I will be kind to another.”
Kindness is so simple. It’s easier to be kind than not to be. Yet, we always choose to focus on the latter. One kind word, one kind compliment, one kind, genuine smile at a stranger, one random act of kindness can have the biggest impact on your life. Here’s a bonus: It could have a massive impact on their lives too. How many times has your day been uplifted by someone who has said a kind word to you? How many times have you passed someone who you could tell was genuinely having a good day and smiled at you? How about when you’ve donated your hard-earned money to the homeless, or for a cause you believe in? How did it feel?
Practicing Kindness – How hard is it?
There can be times when we will find it very hard to be kind. But it’s in moments like that when practicing kindness can make the most significant difference. You cannot change others, but what you can change is your reaction. Respond positively instead of reacting negatively.
Acts of kindness need not be big gestures. It can be as little as a warm smile given to a stranger/neighbor or holding the door for someone or a genuine heartfelt compliment.
My Experience with Kindness:
I have been practicing a random act of kindness for the past 21 days, and the way it makes me feel is indescribable.
The week of February 17 is the Random Act of Kindness Week. So, I want you to choose from some of the ideas below to start your journey of practicing kindness in your daily life:
1. Hug a loved one today.
2. Compliment a random stranger.
3. Be a cheerleader for a family member who’s having a rough day.
4. Listen intently.
5. Be courteous and kind to customer-care representatives.
6. Smile at a stranger when stuck in traffic.
7. At the grocery, let the person purchasing just one or two items check out ahead of you.
8. Be kind to yourself: Have self-care Sundays.
9. Leave positive comments on social media.
10. Write a LinkedIn recommendation.
11. Leave a note on someone’s office desk to say thank you.
12. Shovel your neighbor’s driveway.
13. Spend quality time with your parents.
14. Send flowers to your spouse/ partner / parents for no reason.
15. Give a book that inspired you to a friend.
As Dalai Lama says – “Be kind whenever it’s possible, and it’s always possible.”