This post is completely reactionary. I’ve been a witness to too many unkind things recently and I’ve had enough. I always walk away from these situations thinking, “geez, would it really kill them to just be nice?”. Being miserable, rude, or unfriendly takes way more energy than being kind – isn’t there a study out there that says that frowning uses more muscles than smiling?
Anyway, I’m sure I’m not the only one who is feeling fed up. Social media is the culprit, in my humble opinion. Nowadays, everyone uses their platforms to stand up for what they believe in – sure, a noble cause – but it’s usually at the cost of another person. Complete strangers attacking each other personally because they come from different backgrounds and have different foundational beliefs. These differences are what makes the world go round, people!
As a mother, my beliefs are stronger than ever. It was as if Finn was born, and my roots grew deeper into the soil in order to create a strong foundation for my family. What also grew is my need for understanding and educating myself on other people’s beliefs. I want to learn why so that I can have the answers to Finn’s questions one day. I want to know other people from the inside out. I want to understand what they’ve gone through. I want to ask all the questions and soak it all in. The worst thing I could do for Finn is to be unkind to other people.
Perhaps people are scared to learn or even frightened to ask questions. However, everything worth doing happens outside of your comfort zone. I’ve created a list of ten things that you can do today to spread kindness. Little things go a long way, and by starting small, we all have the potential to change the world in really big ways.
- Pay It Forward. Plan on going through the drive thru to grab a coffee or lunch today? Give an extra five to the attendant and have it go towards the person’s order in line behind you. I love the anonymity of this! They will never know who paid for their meal, but there’s no way they won’t be grateful. And hopefully it inspires them to pay it forward, too!
- Leave a tip! As a former waitress, I love being able to tip way more than 20% on meals nowadays! David and I will debate the tip after a meal, and he will always add a few bucks to the number. We love to do it even more when we have a waiter who seems frazzled or upset. Hopefully we can turn his night around! You can add a little extra to anyone you tip today – your hairdresser, the barista, the dogwalker! Throw in a little extra and know you’ve made someone’s day.
- Compliment a mom or dad on their parenting. Mom-shaming is the worst kind of bullying. As a first-time mom, I’m the first one to admit that I have no idea what I’m doing. I question every decision I make and I’m usually exhausted by the constant decision-making. Today, instead of being critical of someone’s parenting, try complimenting them. Or even commiserating with them. Nothing means more to me these days than someone telling me I’m doing a good job with Finn.
- Reach out to a friend and just say hi! The best days are when I get a random text from someone I haven’t heard from in a while. It let’s me know they are thinking about me and it’s such a easy way to make someone smile.
- Compliment someone’s look. I was in line at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago and I saw the girl in front of me wearing a pair of shoes that I had been eyeing for months. They looked adorable on her and I kept staring! I stood there for minute contemplating if I should say something or not and finally I blurted out “I love your shoes!” She was so excited to tell me that she had just bought them and was so happy with her purchase. We chatted a bit about fashion for a minute while waiting in line and I left feeling like I had made her day. I don’t know what compelled me to finally say something, but it was worth fighting through the awkwardness.
- Write a card for no reason. I’m a huge fan of quote cards. An easy way to make someone’s day is to write them a nice note on a quote card for no reason other than to let them know you were thinking of them. Plus, they make for great reminders on days where they may be feeling a little down.
- Offer your help. Whether it’s helping someone with a heavy bag, or taking on an extra task at work, for those of us whose Love Language is Acts of Service, this one will go a long way.
- Share a happy song. Nothing can change someone’s mood better than a happy, upbeat song. I challenge you to post your favorite happy song on your social media today in hopes that someone will hear it and it will change their mood.
- Give a shout out for an every day expecation. I love the idea of giving credit to folks for doing well at what they are supposed to do. Isn’t it so easy to just have expectations and then criticize when those expectations aren’t met? Well, what if they are always met? What do we do to recognize that? Is it too much to say ‘thank you’ for being consistent and dependable? Today, give someone credit for doing something that you expect from them. It will show them you appreciate them and don’t take them for granted.
- Smile. Nothing, and I mean nothing, spreads kindness more than a happy face.