It’s amazing to think about all the times someone I didn’t know opened the door for me, let me get in line first at the grocery store, or helped me push my car out of the middle of the street when it got stuck in a snowstorm. However, nowadays, I feel like it’s too few and far between. So many people are in such a hurry to get to the next place they’re going to that they hardly take the time to notice if someone really needs help around them. Yes, it does happen, but you have to seek it out. Maybe it's because it's not recognized in the same way that evil or bad news is. It’s interesting how, over time, the act of helping people just because it is the right thing to do has morphed into doing it for notoriety’s sake in certain situations. I think we all would agree that doing something for your name in the spotlight or for that 15 minutes of fame is not doing it for the right reason(s). It's not a genuine approach to making someone’s day or life better either--thinking that you are somehow owed something for your generosity. The world doesn't owe you anything. Other than to be respectful, people don't owe you anything either. So, let's not expect anything in return. Do something kind because it is the right thing to do, no matter who is watching. Be more self-less rather than self-ish. In order to live more like the former, self-examination and reflection are key. They're the keys to becoming a better person and growing in maturity. We can't do either unless we take a step back and look at how we're living our lives day in and day out.
In addition to the above, there are great rewards in doing something for somebody else, especially for someone you don’t know. It can be a humbling experience for both the giver and the recipient of the act of kindness. In some ways, it feels even better when someone we don’t know goes out of their way for us. It makes me think, ‘Wow, this person has no idea who I am, yet they are willing to delay where they’re going just to hold the door for me. That’s so cool’. Not that I ever lost it, but witnessing an act of kindness has restored my faith in humanity. Maybe it has for you, too.
Granted, they’re not actual physical rewards, but more psychological ones:
1. If you believe in karma, then what goes around comes around. Since you’ve done your good deed, someone will, in due time, do a good deed for you.
2. You feel a sense of belonging, camaraderie, and kinship with your fellow brother or sister. There is comfort in knowing we are all connected in some way, and doing this ‘good deed’ will inevitably bring you closer to other people. You'll most likely have feelings of hope, peace, understanding, compassion, empathy, and love.
3. You just might make someone’s day. We all have issues or problems to deal with, and you never know who is having a bad day, been in a funk, or is plain old depressed. A nice gesture can really go a long way—it could even save someone’s life. You just never know. Sometimes, I feel like we are unaware of our ability to impact others. We have this ability as human beings to do this on a daily basis, and it should not be brushed to the side. Taking responsibility for our words and actions is necessary to improving the quality of life for others as well as yourself.
In embodying the Random Acts of Kindness (ARK-Acts of Random Kindness) movement, I have been extremely cognizant of doing something for someone else just because lately. We don’t always need to have a reason to do something good—it can be a spontaneous, in-the-moment decision that wasn’t methodically planned in advance. Or, it can be taking a day off of work to go volunteer at the local Soup Kitchen. I would so far to say that the spontaneous giving of your self is where the real magic happens, because it wasn’t pre-planned. To be fully immersed in the moment is how we ought to live of our lives anyway—not overthinking situations. More often than not, overthinking leads to inaction. Inaction is the enemy of growth. In fact, it can be a slow death. Let’s not be a spectator, but rather a participant in our own lives. Let us also remember our interconnectedness, and in doing so, inspire each other more than bring each other down. So, do yourself a favor and be kind today and everyday to everyone you cross path's with in this journey we call life.
About the Creator
My mission is to write inspirational stories that make you feel good about yourself, put a smile on your face, and think of things in a different way.