The Power Behind a Random Act of Kindness
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that my ambitions and commitments outside of my work at UCLA didn’t cause moments of stress. Including waking up this Saturday morning with the added pressure of, “Arghhh, I haven’t written my musing that needs to post tomorrow.” It’s in these moments of mini-panic that I look for the proverbial refresh button to get control over my life again. For me, the 100% reliable-never-fail-stress-reliever is the all-powerful Random Act of Kindness.
Bestowing unprovoked kindness feels like a deep breath of fresh air. It clears my head and allows me to move forward… focused and revitalized.
I’m sure there is a psychological component attached to pausing in life to do something kind for someone else. For me, when I do something unexpected and kind for someone it always reminds me that we are all in this together. We all have stressors in our daily lives. We all are going through the good, bad and the ugly on a daily cycle.
The random act of kindness reminds me that no matter how overwhelming my day is, there is always time to reach out to someone through our common thread of humanity. The act of altruism reminds us that we could all use a random pat on the back just for being a fellow compatriot of the human race.
I have quite a few friends who, when at a coffeehouse, regularly buy the coffee for the person behind them in line. However, the altruistic act can be as simple as holding the door for someone walking up behind you or paying a sincere compliment about their eyes, hair or appearance.
The random act of kindness, like any form of kindness, is a fully functional two-way street. The giver and receiver both benefit from a spark of appreciation and pause. Mother Teresa succinctly takes the pressure off large ambitions with this great quote of humility, “We can do no great things. Only small things with great love.” I feel better already.
* After writing this I experienced the following. I was walking out of a store and I held the door for the person behind me. It was a 20-something year old girl who was disheveled (to put it mildly) and appeared insecure about her looks. When I held the door and said “Good morning” she looked shocked and said “No one has ever held a door open for me before.” Who knows what type of a ripple effect that one incident might have in her life.
Whether it’s random acts of kindness, paying it forward, or praying for another… our world can never have enough connectedness of kindness and love.
[…] is illusive. One can’t buy it. One can’t acquire it through good deeds or random acts of kindness. One can’t earn it. And almost like magic you can’t use Grace as a chip to bargain with or […]
yes! That quote from Mother Teresa is one of my faves.
A few years ago my friends and I collaborated with some artists to do something called The Art of Joy and one of the components was posting a random act of kindness idea every day of Lent. It was so much fun to do.
I’m still always shocked about how people get surprised by something as simple as a smile and a thank you too.
Miss Val, what a wonderful topic on which to ruminate. I saw a quote at work today as I was walking down the hall. It made me think of you and of this musing and smile: “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” -Aristotle
I love random acts of kindness! They make the world a better place and just for a moment, I feel as if I’m getting a giant hug from those I love and it warms my heart and makes me smile! I think if a random act of kindness has that effect on me, just imagine how it effects others? We all need more kindness every day.
What a great musing! I definitely agree that when you share a kindness, it brings you out of the rumination on yourself and your to-do list. I grew up with southern values, so opening doors and saying hello come naturally to me, but people do have amazing responses to something so simple. I lived in a hospital-owned building in Manhattan during my residency, so everyone worked crazy hours and often seemed grumpy when you would see them. My mom and I have a wonderful mother-daughter bond, so she used to visit once a month. When she first came, she would… Read more »
I could not agree with you more about random acts of kindness! It’s actually on my bucket list to devote a whole day to random/anonymous acts of kindness. I love the feeling I get.
Remember the book you shared? The one that says that geniuses tend to congregate together. That’s how I feel about my family & friends. I make it a point to stay close to the positive people in my life.
Have you seen the video online about a guy that does good deeeds? It’s in Cambodian, I think. I’ll find it & send it to you
I held the door for a couple pushing a baby yesterday, and I was surprised by how surprised they were. I don’t even notice, it’s second nature.
Goal of the week is more random acts of kindness!
Once I did a 30 day challenge of trying to do something nice for someone at least once a day, no matter how small it was and document it to reflect on after the month was over. Maybe it’s time to start that again. Thank you again Val for words of wisdom!