We all enjoy the idea of a random act of kindness. Doing something positive for someone for no other reason than to make him or her feel good. It’s the sort of thing that gives you a warm feeling inside and reminds you that, amidst all of the horridness in the world, there’s a glimmer of goodness.
The thing about kindness is that it spreads – as summed up by Sri Chinmoy, an Indian spritual master – and used as our blog post title. Scrolling down my news feed on social media, I often come across the posts of people who’ve been the lucky recipients of random acts of kindness. The time might have run out on their parking lot ticket and so a considerate stranger topped up the meter for them. They might have been struggling with their shopping bags, a stroller and an uncooperative toddler – all in the pouring rain – and a friendly passerby stopped to offer them help. They may have received an anonymous note, a kind gesture, or simply a smile from someone in the street.
Whatever their story, each post-writer seems genuinely grateful and happy to receive such kindness. They want to share the random act with the world, celebrate it, and publicly applaud the person who did it.
Social media can play a big part in encouraging people to perform random acts of kindness. The “tie a coat to a lamp post” initiative of Christmas 2015, for example, was widely promoted across social media. It invited members of the public to leave their unwanted coats attached to street lights so that they could be found and used by homeless people – an idea that was shared and put into action around the world.
Lately, however, I’ve noticed that social media can also be used as a platform for people to publicly congratulate themselves on their own demonstrations of random kindness, and as a means of asking other people to do the same by “Liking” their posts. Self-proclamations of charitable giving, selfies with homeless people – I’m sure the root of these people’s actions is most probably selfless, but I can’t help questioning their motives for publishing “proof” of having done them!
After all, is it really a true random act of kindness if you’re expecting a pat on the back at the end of it?
Whether as a recipient, an observer, or a performer of a random act of kindness, it seems that we all want to share in them. Perhaps this is because they seem to be so few and far between in modern society. Perhaps we all need to demonstrate more random acts of kindness and make them an everyday occurrence instead of a special event – without any expectations other than, as Princess Diana said, “the knowledge that one day, someone might do the same for you.”
Today’s article explores random acts of kindness at work, how they can benefit you and your team, and a few simple ones that you can try out.
Have you ever been the recipient of a random act of kindness? How did it make you feel? Did it encourage you to do the same for someone else? Join in the discussion below!