What is Random Acts of Kindness week? While it is a time to make a conscious effort to be kind to others, we should not forget that kindness extends to ourselves. Many people are feeling stress living through a pandemic and stress has a way of decreasing our empathy toward others and likely ourselves. But if we have an awareness of this fact, we can make that effort to transcend ourselves for others and to look for ways of self-care.
There are so many possibilities for random acts of kindness. Today I let someone ahead of me on the grocery line just to be kind and it felt much better than getting uptight at the thought of someone actually cutting the line. In another moment I stopped for someone on the sidewalk in a rush to pass me by and made way for her to go ahead of me. I could have chosen annoyance at her impatience, but considering the person’s needs led to a random act of kindness.
Smiling at a stranger, holding a door, complimenting someone, as simple as these acts of kindness may sound make us and others feel good. I love when someone smiles at me. I light up. And it’s often the same when we smile even at a stranger. People are especially eager to make connections during the pandemic and as small as these acts may seem sometimes, they are not small at all. Just one connection can help us to feel happier and less isolated in the moment. Humans are social by nature and even the smallest of these connections can decrease feelings of isolation and the anxiety that often surfaces with it. These moments are meaningful as well and help people feel fulfilled. The more meaningful moments we have in our lives, the more fulfilled we become.
Kindness toward others is natural to humans, I believe, and it is often stress that leads us away from who we truly are. Funny thing though, it is these random acts of kindness that melt away stress in an instant. The more we make random acts of kindness a part of our lives, the better able we are to cope with life’s stresses and live meaningfully.
Kindness to ourselves comes in different forms, such not judging our mistakes so harshly and trying to learn from our mistakes. It can mean asserting ourselves and setting boundaries when necessary or setting realistic goals for ourselves. Most of all, it is believing in ourselves, realizing what strengths we have without minimizing them and using these strengths to live a more fulfilled life not only for ourselves but in guiding others toward their potential.
Happy Random Acts of Kindness Week! June