Updated: Oct 23
One of the exercises my coaching clients are encouraged to undergo is to identify opportunities for performing random acts of kindness. It can be as simple as giving someone a reassuring hand as they cross the road or paying for a person’s groceries in front of you at the supermarket.
Every act of kindness allows you to tap into your own power as the giver while giving the recipient a feeling of faith and hope in life again.
My own faith in the human being is restored every time someone gives me a smile of reassurance, hugs me when I’m down, or simply sits with me in silence knowing that I’m struggling. These are all acts of kindness everyone can benefit from and they’re so easy to give.
Understanding the Power of Kindness
Kindness and showing compassion to another person is extremely powerful for both the recipient and the person giving them. Throughout the ages, the need for giving and receiving kindness and compassion is a deep-seated requirement for every person to function in a balanced way.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has taught a lot of people the power of such acts and it’s not uncommon to hear someone say, “Just be kind.” when the debate turns to the wearing of masks. You may not be afraid of the virus but the person next to you could be. The biggest act of kindness you can show that person is acknowledging their fear and wearing your mask.
That’s the power of kindness. Being able to put yourself into another person’s shoes and understand where they’re coming from. And, wanting to help them cope with whatever they’re battling with. It’s about showing no judgment of another, inflicting no harm on another, and wanting to give another person faith and hope in life once more.
Kindness is something that can be taught from a very young age so make sure you empower your children by showing them the power of kindness and compassion.
When you show kindness and compassion, you’re giving someone else a moment of peace. Imagine how powerful that is. Being responsible for lifting someone’s spirits and giving them a moment of joy and happiness when all else feels hopeless for them? That’s the power of kindness.
And, each one of us is capable of tapping into that power and performing acts of kindness and compassion. Kindness matters!
How to Perform Acts of Kindness and Compassion
There are so many ways of performing acts of kindness and compassion. Think of all the times someone showed you kindness and the impact it had on your life even if only for a moment. Here’s a list of acts of kindness others have shown me.
1. Cooking My Favorite Meal
My partner always produces my favorite meal when I’ve had a rough day. While the actual food is always delicious, it’s the act of knowing what I love to eat and understanding that it helps to lift my soul which means so much to me. The mere act of recognizing that I’m down and going to the effort of buying and cooking my favorite meal shows that my partner cares for me.
2. Paying for My Air Tickets to Visit Special People
My brother surprised me at the end of 2019 (pre-COVID days when one was free to travel!) by buying me air tickets to visit my special aunt and uncle in Zimbabwe. This act of kindness pushed me to visit them and made me feel special because my brother showed me how much he cared. I got to spend a week with my special people and felt rejuvenated once more by reconnecting with them. Sadly, my aunt passed away in 2021.
3. Standing Aside for Me
Walking through a shopping center can be intimidating when partially blind. I use a white cane to help me navigate my way safely. But, when someone goes the extra mile and steps aside to let me pass, I’m reassured by this simple gesture of kindness. So, a BIG thank you to everyone out there who acknowledges us “blind” folks!
4. A Small Gift
How many times does someone surprise you with a little gift out of the blue? And, when that gift has some meaning you know the gifter has put some thought into what you actually like. My mother does this well and when she visited the other day, she brought a bar of nougat, a treat I rarely allow myself but absolutely love!
5. Sending Random (but meaningful) Messages
When I had a sad chat with my daughter in Beijing the other day, I didn’t think much of it once we ended the call. However, a few hours later when I was posting my daily tarot message on my Instagram account there was a message for me. It was some random funny video sent by my daughter to make me laugh. Such a random act of kindness not only made me laugh but helped me feel special too.
6. Checking In With Me
My partner checks in with me throughout the day. It can be with a Whatsapp message or when we’re both at home and he comes into my office to ask how I am. Making cups of tea or coffee is another way for him to check in on me and make sure all is well. Checking in with someone means you’re looking out for that person, no matter whether they’re feeling good or not.
7. Offering to Foot the Bill
In June 2021, my family said goodbye to two special children. We were surrounded by amazing family and friends. These friends made sure we were okay at all times and made sure we were kept safe and comfortable. The day after the memorial, a group of us headed out to a local park to enjoy the beautiful scenery and then went out for lunch. These friends footed all the bills and that act of kindness means so much to me.
These are just some of the ways people have shown kindness and compassion to me. The list is never-ending and if I had to write down all the times acts of kindness have been shown to me this blog would run into hundreds of words.
How Can You Show Random Acts of Kindness?
Here are some other ways you can show random acts of kindness to others.
1. Taking the Rubbish Bin Out
We live in a townhouse complex and the trash is collected every Friday morning. If it’s not us taking out and bringing in the rubbish bins for our lane of houses, it will be one of the neighbors. Such a small act of kindness but it always feels so good – both for the giver and the receiver.
2. Letting the Elderly Through
How often have you stood in a queue and let an elderly person through to the front? It’s such a simple act of kindness but one that means so much for the older person who may be struggling to stand for a long time.
3. Saying Thank You
I always make sure I say thank you no matter how small or big the act of service was. Acknowledging someone for making your day a little bit easier goes a long way to making that person feel valued. Whether it’s the packer packing your groceries in the supermarket or the bank teller going the extra mile, saying thank you for their efforts is a wonderful way to express kindness.
4. Smiling At and Greeting a Stranger
Smiling and greeting a stranger while taking a walk in the park or when in the store creates an instant sense of human connection. ‘Kindness is a gift everyone can afford to give” (Unknown) and smiling while greeting a stranger costs you absolutely nothing and yet you’ve just lifted someone’s spirit.
5. Helping Someone Grow
Your acts of kindness may be the very thing someone needs to grow. It could be offering to pay for a child’s school or university fees. Or, providing monthly groceries to a family whose main breadwinner has just been retrenched. Perhaps offering your wisdom and becoming someone’s mentor is the act of kindness a troubled person needs to make the change they’re frightened to take.
Never underestimate what you can do for someone who needs to grow, physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. This quote by Amelia Earhart says it so eloquently:
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions,
and the roots spring up and make new trees.”- Amelia Earhart
Random acts of kindness and compassion are what give people faith and hope again when in the midst of difficult times. But, even on days when all is well, being treated with kindness and compassion goes a long way to making the day even better. Make sure you perform random acts of kindness every day and know that what goes out, comes back double-fold.
When we learn to tap into our human goodness, we can express not only kindness towards ourselves but to everyone else who needs it. Read this wonderful book by Tara Brach, "Trusting the Gold: Uncovering Your Natural Goodness." The author talks about opening ourselves up so we can live fearless and with love.
This post was originally published on June 18th, 2021, and updated on September 2nd, 2022.