You’re in a mad rush to your next appointment and the line you’re in feels like it will never end; you’ve been waiting for 15 minutes and (finally!) you’re up next. It’s been one of those days and you can’t wait to go home, close the door on the outside world, soak in a hot bubble bath, sip your wine and relax.
From inside your daydream of bubble baths and wine, you notice the person in front of you has just walked away leaving their keys on the counter. Not thinking, you grab the keys and take off to return them to their owner. They smile; they’re so grateful and your heart swells at having been able to help someone. After all, you remember what it was like that time you lost your own [keys, wallet, sunglasses].
You return to the line, but at the very back; you’re now last. Then you hear, “Excuse me? Would you like your place back?” It’s the person who was behind you before you left the line. You cannot believe your luck and you cannot thank them enough. “No problem. Least I could do after what you did.”
The above example demonstrates why kindness is such a powerful agent of change: it’s contagious. You see, every act of kindness – big or small – has three effects:
1) the positive effect on the recipient;
2) the positive effect on you; and,
3) the effect on a passer-by who happens to witness the act.
From small gestures like holding the door open for the person behind you to bigger acts like buying a car for a man who has to walk to work, EVERY act of kindness has the power to change the world.
Here are 5 ways to be kind to you:
1) Why, doing something kind for someone else, of course. It’s scientifically proven that acts of kindness improve health, happiness and goodwill towards others.
2) That massage you’ve been longing for – book it.
3) Practice self-compassion. No matter what the problem or mistake, promise not to beat yourself up. Treat yourself like you’d treat your best friend in that exact same situation.
4) What’s your absolute favorite thing to do? Schedule that as your top priority on your next day off. We know how busy your calendar is – with career and family – but YOU are just as important as all those responsibilities, so remember to schedule time for you. Confused by this foreign phrase ”your next day off”? Schedule a day off pronto.
Here are 5 ways to be kind to others:
1) Pay the toll for the person behind you.
2) Tell your barista or server just how great they are at their job, preferably in front of other people especially their manager, then anonymously leave them the biggest tip you can afford.
3) Let someone else have your spot – in line, parking, etc. This is especially rewarding if you are in a hurry. It’ll force you to slow down and take a breath while simultaneously showing that person they’re just as important as you are.
4) Ask someone “How are you?” and mean it. Really listen to their response.
5) Volunteer your time to a cause about which you’re passionate. Sign up to become a volunteer with Savvy Ladies. Not sure what else you’re passionate about? Try AllForGood.org, Idealist.org, CreateTheGood.org, and/or Serve.gov
Just follow the motto: “do what you can… with what you have… where you are.” Think through your daily routine and find one opportunity for kindness each day. And if you want to, share your random act of kindness with the world: post it on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, text it to your best friends – wherever, however, you like to connect with other people from around the world.
Need more inspiration? Click here.
Author: Leah Saylor-Abney