Sometimes, the world saddens me. There are wars fought every day, both between opposing armies but, more often, just in our own heads. It’s easy to believe the world is going to hell in a handbasket. That’s why it’s more important than ever to perform a random act of kindness.
One of my personal missions is to make the world a more positive place. While large movements can make big changes (hence why I started the NOvember campaign), there’s a lot to be said for the cumulative effect of lots of small actions.
If you’re like me, though, you find it hard to think of something to do. That’s why, in this post, I’m challenging you (and myself) to perform a random act of kindness this week, and I’m giving some suggestions to make it as easy as possible.
Apart from the obvious benefit of just feeling good about yourself, a random act of kindness can make all the difference to the person on the receiving end.
Still not convinced that you can change someone’s life without even breaking a sweat? Let me share a story from my own life just a few short years ago:
I suffered from post-natal depression after having my daughter. It was a dark time for me, and every day was a struggle. I’d count the minutes until my husband finished work.
One week, he was abroad on business and I took Scout grocery shopping, which I always found to be a stressful experience. At the checkout, she refused to stay in the trolley, so I silently tried to sprout eyes in the back of my head to keep an eye on her while simultaneously packing my bags. That’s when the lady behind me in the queue spoke up.
She commented on how well behaved Scout was. I thanked her, and joked that that wasn’t always the case. (To me, it was a miracle that she was remaining still and quiet, patiently waiting for me to finish, not a product of good parenting on my part.)
I could easily have walked away and thought no more of the encounter, being too concerned with just surviving the day, but she continued. “She’s a credit to you,” she said. I was a little stunned, and thanked her again. When I returned to the car, I hopped in and heaved great big sobs.
The truth is, when you’re suffering from post-natal depression, you don’t always feel like you have things under control. You don’t always feel like you’re doing a good job or that you’re coping. Even the smallest thing can seem like the biggest hurdle.
For that stranger in the supermarket, it was a simple exchange. A casual remark. I probably didn’t even look like I needed it, as I efficiently packed my bags and placed them in the trolley while Scout stood by. I’m sure I looked like a mother who had it all together.
Nobody knew how much I was struggling. How low I was feeling. Her comment made me feel acknowledged at a time when I was starting to believe I was invisible.
When we help others, even in a small way, we have no idea of the profound impact it can have on their lives. Maybe it will do nothing more than just brighten their day a bit, or maybe it will turn their whole life around and help them see sunshine where before there were only dark clouds.
Never think that your contribution to the world is too small. That lady I met did nothing more than speak a few words to me in passing, but she helped me see the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. She was a ray of hope when I really needed it.
Thousands of people read my blog every week. If each of us performed just one random act of kindness, collectively we’d reach thousands more people. And those, in turn, may be inspired to brighten thousands more lives.
It starts with a single act… and spreads.
If you’re struggling to think of a good deed to do, here are some suggestions:
17 Good Deeds
Kindness doesn't have to cost a thing... but it is priceless.
You never know when someone needs even a small sign that things will be OK, and a simple gesture can make all the difference. Even a smile can change the fate of someone who feels like no-one cares. A coupon can take some of the stress and strain off a family when their budget is stretched. And a compliment can mean the difference between a mother feeling like she can’t cope and feeling like she’s actually got some things under control.
Spread a little sunshine and positivity with a random act of kindness, and see if your own life isn’t all the lighter and brighter for it.