August 2, 2019
Intentional Acts of Kindness
With the recent attacks on the El Paso and Dayton communities, random acts of violence seem to be more prevalent than acts of kindness. Helplessness is a more prevalent emotion than both of them put together with anger and frustration peeking up intermittently alongside constant confusion. While political rhetoric lends itself to these horrific experiences we all find ourselves asking what we can do or how we can help. We can make donations, participate in the local blood drive and even post our condolences on social media. However, nothing will ever compare to that of passing moments (even if just mere seconds) of joy on to others.
What if we all made it a point to go slightly outside of our comfort zone at least once a day to make a stranger smile if nothing else? To share a compliment with a co-worker? To reach out to a friend or family member we have not spoken to in a while? What if we stopped thinking about these acts as randomand started thinking about them as intentional?
There are things we all do every day that with intention, yet we give no thought to them such as waking up, getting our coffee, brushing our teeth, checking our email, driving to work, etc. These acts are all part of our routine. What might this world be like if we added a moment of intentional kindness to our daily routine? What is when we woke up and turned our alarm off, we immediately sent an uplifting text to a friend? Or during our morning drive allowed that inpatient driver next to us to merge into traffic with a smile instead of a dirty look?
I can think of no other better time than now for all of us to make this part of our daily routine. In an unexplainable world, let us instead be delightfully perplexed by the stranger in the grocery store line allowing the mom with crying kids cut in line or by person on that full flight who offers to change their seat so two friends can sit together. While these little things may not change the circumstances of someone’s life, they may change the circumstances of someone’s day; giving a moment of optimism in a time when we all feel so disheartened.
Kindness is free and it is contagious. When our children witness us acting in such a manner, Newton’s Third Law of Motion can be observed in human behavior. We have all seen, heard, and read the bumper sticker that reads “Be the Change You Want to See in the World”, for some of us that change seems insurmountable because the change we would like to see seems unattainable. It does not have to be, we are all part of the whole and eventually that math will work in our favor. It starts with one. One smile. One compliment. One opened door. One short conversation.
This weekend while we run from one place to another, we will have the opportunity to lift the fog from another, giving someone the story to tell of compassion, sympathy and kind-heartedness; stories we seem to be in low supply of these days. Monday as we start or work week, ask your co-worker how their weekend was and you may be the lucky recipient of one of these stories and so it cultivates from there.
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