You don’t have to be superwoman to make the world a better place. In fact, leaving your mark is as easy as a couple thoughtful actions a day or random acts of kindness. You’ll be amazed at how making someone’s day will also make yours.
Here are some random acts of kindness you can do right now:
Buy coffee for a stranger. You go to the coffee shop every morning anyway, why not make someone’s day while you’re at it? As you buy your coffee, also ask to pay for the person behind you. The same thing can be done at the drive-thru or your favourite fast food restaurant – you decide! And who knows, you might start a chain reaction of kindness where other people become inspired to do the same.
Compliment a random stranger. This one goes out to my mom who always told me to compliment people whether it was on a job well done or heck, because your friend’s mani looks pretty freakin’ fab right now. Complimenting is easy, doesn’t cost a thing but can make someone’s day. Don’t limit compliments to people you know, compliment a stranger once in a while. It’s even better because they won’t expect it. But don’t compliment for the sake of complimenting, say it because you mean it. Be genuine.
Encourage people to pursue their dreams. It’s incredible how much a person can accomplish when they know they have people cheering for them in the background. It’s reassuring to know someone supports you in your goals and dreams, no matter how big or small they may be. Be that person for someone. Listen to the dreams your friends have and see if you can help them get there. If you know how to help them or know someone who can, hook them up!
Make the call. YOU KNOW what I’m talking about. We all have someone in our lives that we’ve been meaning to call. Maybe it’s your mom, your grandmother or a friend you haven’t talked to in a very long time. You have your reasons for putting it off, but take a moment right now and do it! I guarantee you there will be a very happy person to receive you on the other end. Even if that’s not the case, put your fears or whatever is holding you back aside and make the call. If you know it’s something you have to do, do it.
Volunteer or donate. One of the kindest things to do is give up your time. Whether it’s within your local community or prefered charity, it’s an easy and effective way to make a difference. Or if you don’t have the time, donate perishable food items to a homeless shelter or donate your gently used clothes to local charities.
Send someone a gift, anonymously. Know someone who is going through a tough time, or needs a simple pick-me-up? Send them an anonymous gift. Maybe it’s flowers, a concert ticket to their favourite band, or a gift basket full of their favourite goodies. But why anonymously? Since we are born we’re taught the art of exchanging gifts. Whether we choose to admit it or not, there is this underlying pressure to “return the favour” when someone gives something to you. But an anonymous gift shows that you don’t want anything in return, that this is a genuine act of kindness.
Smile. It exudes positivity and it’s contagious. Spread it around!
Exercise common courtesy. It’s back to the basics. Common courtesy is fundamental to kindness, yet it’s quite tragic how little people actually exercise it. Say “please” and “thank you,” hold the door for the person behind you, lend your seat on public transit to someone who needs it, etc… Basically, all the basic lessons on courtesy and etiquette your mother taught you growing up – exercise them daily!
Acknowledge people. City people are the worst, and this is coming from a girl who has lived in the city her entire life. The reason? We don’t acknowledge each other anymore. My friend who has done her fair share of street promos expressed her frustration to me one time. “People just ignore you, they don’t acknowledge you at all. It’s so rude, we’re people too.” And she’s right. We're all guilty of it, but that can change today. So next time you see those people on the street representing charities or a homeless person asks you for money, resist the urge to grab your phone and pretend to be in the middle of a “very important” phone call. Just acknowledge them. If you’re not interested or don’t want to talk to them, fine, not a problem. “No, thanks” or “Sorry, I don’t have any change” or anything along those lines will work fine. But don’t ignore them or pretend they’re not there.
Leave a copy of your favourite book in a public place. Leave a note telling the new reader how the book has inspired you or helped you in some way, hoping that it will have the same impact on them. Encourage them to also share the book once they’re done and hope they too will carry on this sharing tradition.