Thumbnail image for Bed headhsot.jpgI remember years ago when I first heard about the concept of practice random acts of kindness. The exact quote, “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” is said to have been coined by peace activist Anne Herbert. These are things you do for others for no apparent reason, just to make someone happy or motivate a smile. When I first heard this quote I bought a homeless person something to eat and became more conscious of things I could do for others, just because. I don’t do those kind of things every day, but I try to remember to do them occasionally, as a random act.

Try it! One time, do something nice for someone you don’t know well or at all. Say something kind. Help someone who’s carrying a lot of packages. Hold the door. It doesn’t have to be big but every act of kindness you give that’s not done with an agenda of wanting to be liked or to get a favor in return will make you feel a little better right after. It may not take hold fast. You might think it’s not meaningful. But if every night you write down the kind things you did for others, just to be kind, it will put the focus on kindness, not people pleasing.

Those baby steps will eventually add up enough for a little more self-love to creep into your world.

I remember when I was in a big hurry to do a favor for someone in my DoorMat days and a very elderly lady asked if I’d help her cross the street. I was late and hesitated, since someone was waiting for me. I didn’t need this woman’s acceptance, so my first thought was to tell her I didn’t have time. Blessedly I chose to help her walk–at a pace that would have given a snail a chance to win a race with her. As she held my arm tight, I realized how scared this woman was to cross this street with a lot of traffic alone. I’d want someone to do that for someone I loved!

At that moment I recognized that helping just to help felt more rewarding than buying people’s friendship and approval with favors.

At least for today, see if you can find at least one thing you can do as a random act of kindness for someone you don’t know. Enjoy knowing that you’ve brightened someone’s day at least a little! It will brighten yours too!

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