We all know how important small acts of kindness are. Even the smallest act of kindness can change someone’s entire day, or the course of their entire life. I talked recently to someone who not only wants to spread kindness herself, but she wants to remind us all that being kind isn’t always easy, but it is always possible.
I learned about Risa Fingerman, and her kindness project, through Mark Borella at the Seeds of Happiness. Risa recently had her Bat Mitzvah and for the project that’s done in conjunction with the celebration, she chose to find ways to spread more kindness into the world around her. Hearing her talk about how important this project was to her, and how much she enjoys giving gifts and promoting kindness, was a lot of fun.
As Risa said in our interview, there are many different ways to spread kindness. The sky is the limit when it comes to finding ways to let someone know that you’re thinking of them, that they are loved, and that they matter.
Here are a few different ideas to get you started:
1. Smile at everyone you meet
2. Send a text to someone, just to let them know how important they are to you
3. Hold the door for someone
4. Write letters to people who can’t get out and about (LovefortheElderly.org)
5. Offer to do a chore for someone, that you know they don’t enjoy doing or they don’t have time to do
6. When you go to the store, offer to get items for someone you know who can’t get out and about
7. Call and talk to someone, just because
8. Leave thoughtful little gifts for your neighbors or co-workers
9. Pass books that you’ve enjoyed along to friends or family who also love to read
10. Send someone a funny joke, video, or meme
11. Create something for someone; a painting, a drawing, jewelry, a scarf, whatever it is that you do
12. Go to thelovecard.org and get Love Cards to hand out to people
13. Pay for someone else’s meal at a restaurant
14. If an employee goes out of their way to help you, make sure to let their manager know. They generally only hear complaints from people, so a compliment will be a nice change of pace.
15. Cook dinner for someone
16. Collect money for a charity
17. Volunteer at a local non-profit organization, or anywhere that could use some help
18. Send a care package to someone that you know is having a rough time, or even just to let someone know that you’re thinking of them
19. Donate any gently used items, that you are no longer using, to a local shelter
20. Do something that you know will make someone smile
Don’t forget to be kind to yourself.
I always end my emails by saying: “do something every day that makes you smile, and then do something every day that makes someone else smile”. I say this because, it’s important that we remember to be kind to others, but it’s also important for us to be kind to ourselves in the process. Giving to others, and showing others kindness, doesn’t have to mean running ourselves into the ground and burning ourselves out. Sometimes we feel selfish for taking care of ourselves, but really, we’re practicing self-care. The best way I’ve seen it described is this: practice self-care so that you CAN be of service to others.
It’s only when our own cups are full, that we can fill others up with love and light as well. We can practice this self-care each day by speaking kind words to ourselves, giving our bodies rest when they need it, feeding ourselves foods that support our bodies, doing practices like Qigong to keep our bodies and our minds centered and balanced, and exercising.
It’s much harder for us to show someone kindness, especially when they aren’t being very kind themselves, if we’re overworked, overtired, and underfed. So give yourself permission to care for yourself, as well as those around you.
And then take inspiration from this list, and from people like Risa, Mark Borella, Joanne Steenberg with The Love Card, and Jennifer Bourquin with Thoughtful Gifting, and use your unique gifts and talents to make the world a better place.