Happy Tuesday! Did you know February 17th, 2019 was National Random Acts of Kindness Day? In today’s episode we discuss how to celebrate (you don’t have to wait til next year folks) by making that little bit of extra effort to do a good deed for people you encounter in your daily routine. It can be one or one-hundred acts of unselfishness, and it can be for friends, family, coworkers, and strangers. The lovely part is that kindness is free and (almost) effortless.
Some people are naturally bright, cheerful folk, while others may need to make a conscious decision to turn up the corners of their mouth to show a smile. Obviously, if you’re a grouch, then it’s a bit more of a concerted push to get to the nice side. No matter where you are on the decency spectrum, we think everyone can agree this world needs more “random acts of kindness, and senseless acts of beauty” in it.
According to improvisedlife.com, that phrase was scribbled onto a placemat in a restaurant in Sausalito, CA, back in 1982 by journalist Anne Herbert. At that time Herbert was despairing over escalating violence in her community and elsewhere, and so turned the nightly news aphorism “random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty” into a revolutionary new philosophy. She started writing a column to highlight true stories of acts of kindness, encouraging people to shift their focus from cruelty to goodwill. A little over 10 years later, the nonprofit Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (RAK) was started in Denver, Colorado.
Today you can visit the RAK website for all kinds of ideas to celebrate not just one but all 365 days. Visitors to the website can download posters, certificates, tag-you’re-it cards, and other forms of inspiration for their home, school, and workplace.
Being a good human can be expressed in the simplest of acts, from smiling at a stranger to paying for someone’s coffee in the drive-thru. It can be volunteering your time to help others in need. You can drop some change in a vending machine, leave an uplifting note for a stranger on a car window, donate blankets to an animal shelter, or hold the door open for someone (10 extra karma points if you’re in a hurry). Tell the cashier at your grocery store they’re doing a great job. Better yet, tell their boss too.
Here’s something else to think about: we are HUGGERS! WE LOVE HUGGING! It’s our go-to greeting because hugging is amazing and so very awesome and we encourage people to do it more. BUT!!! (Always with the buts!) Always ask first. Not everyone likes hugs; some people may have issues with being touched so intimately. Showing concern for someone else’s boundaries and respecting them is a TOTALLY “woke” thing to do and will certainly make your new friend feel comfortable and safe with you.
Now. Don’t feel guilty if you’re NOT that ray of freaking sunshine all the time. No one is asking you to be something you’re not. And don’t forget we KNOW about what traffic does to people. Hell, even perpetual smiley people have bad days. We’re all human. And that’s the point, really. We all just need to practice (again, some more than others) pausing, breathing and shifting perspective every once in awhile. We’re just encouraging everyone (ourselves included) to give it a shot here and there, off and on. You know, try it on, wear it awhile, see how it feels. You might find it…suits you.
But yeah, yeah, but what happens if you meet – UGH – just the BIGGEST jerk in the world? And you want to yell, or physically fight even, or maybe just walk away but curse the a-hole at the top of your lungs in the privacy of your car?! What happens if…you perform the unusual act of kindness by understanding you’re all of a sudden in a 2- maybe 5- or even 10-minute life snapshot of someone you have never met, know absolutely nothing about, and are probably at their verrrry lowest point in that infinitesimal space and time? Seeing beyond the regular stress and frustration of such an encounter could be one of the nicest things you can do. For you, them, and everyone in hearing distance.
Oooof. That is a tall order. Maybe just try smiling and holding doors and leaving dollar bills for people to find for awhile and work your way up to that level of zen? Let’s recap: Start small, try often, pause, breathe, shift. You’ll likely find that tranquility comes into play much more readily than you thought possible.
But wait, there’s more: this is just the tip of the niceberg. (bwahahahahaha!!! THAT’S a good one. Wiping one laugh-induced tear from cheek).
The physical ramifications of being a good human are also a terrific reason to (gritting teeth) let that guy merge in front of you on the way home after a super long day: helpfulness releases all sorts of chemicals and hormones in our bodies that help decrease stress and blood pressure and increases other good stuff like oxytocin. D’aw. Since we’re not doctors, read this if you don’t believe us.
To bring a smile to your face, here’s a gallery of some truly wonderful acts of kindness:
Check out our Random Acts of Kindness episode on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Libsyn, Pocket Cast, Stitcher or anywhere you listen to podcasts. Then all you need to do is 1) subscribe 2) download and 3) listen! AND!!! 4) If you enjoy what you hear, please leave a rating and a review (pretty please?). The more subscribers and reviews we get, the more opportunities we get to grow this podcast and bring you richer content.
And don’t forget to follow us here at themuglytruth.com (click that blue WordPress Follow button on the right side of your screen) so you get notifications every time we post an episode blog! You can also follow The Mugly Truth on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
© The Mugly Truth 2019 and © The Mugly Truth Podcast 2019. All rights reserved.
Intro and outro music, “Clever as a Fox” by Espresso Music through premiumbeats.com
Photos courtesy WordPress free library, by Pexels.com, and Kristen Core.