The holidays do it to me every time. Maybe it’s the smell of pumpkin spiced everything that inspires me. Or the idea of hopping in the car and sitting at a big, huge table beside my parents and siblings after spending most of the year separated by miles. Either way, there is this thing – this something that makes my heart explode with love and gratitude and…a little sadness.
I have it good. REALLY GOOD. And every single time the holidays creep around, it reminds me that there are a million and one sets of shoes I’ve never walked in. Ones that bear the weight of someone who may not have it as good as I do. Maybe they don’t have a family to drive home to or a home to feast in. Or maybe the holidays are torture for them because it marks the anniversary of a loss, or it’s the last one before a loss is coming.
Most years I feed the sadness by doing good – donating to a charity, adopting a child to clothe at Christmas or making cookies for the neighbor. And, then I get lost. Lost in the shuffle of the New Year, Spring cleaning, and everything else in between. Before you know it, I’ve forgotten those shoes I’ll never walk in because I’m too busy thinking about my own.
That ends now.
THE MOST SIMPLE WAY TO SPREAD KINDNESS
Recently I learned something so basic it almost hurts to admit it. Ready? The most simple way to spread kindness is to take notice. Literally, the simplest way to spread kindness is to pay attention to strangers, acknowledge them and connect. That’s it.
I was in the bakery the other day and forgot my wallet. I knew my daughter would be totally bummed out. It had been a rough week, she really (and I mean, really) wanted that cookie. And, I really (and I mean, really) needed that coffee. But, life wasn’t letting that be our plan, so we packed back up and headed out the door.
We didn’t get far. Someone was paying attention. So much so, that he literally chased us out the door, summoned us back into the bakery and presented us with the sweet treat my daughter had chosen before the “oops I forgot my wallet” incident. It was simple. It was thoughtful. I’m pretty sure I thanked him and made an awkward joke, because that’s what I do in situations like that. But my heart wanted to hug him. I totally should have.
YOU CAN SPREAD KINDNESS EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
And, so from that moment from that guy in the bakery I learned a new lesson. I guess I should say I acknowledged the lesson, since I had learned it years ago and chosen to ignore it. Tiny gestures can have a gigantic impact.
Like smiling at a stranger. It’s the easiest thing you can do in your day. Look up from your phone, look into someone’s eyes and smile for no reason other than spreading kindness.
You can help someone in the grocery store. If you’re tall, grab that bag of chips from the top shelf when you see someone small struggling to reach it. Help the elderly women hoist that 20 pound box of kitty litter into her cart. I’m the short person scaling shelves to get what I need at Stop and Shop. Tall people who swoop in to help me? Saviors.
See a mama about to lose it the middle of Target? Look into her the eyes and tell her she’s doing great. That’s it. You’re doing great Mama. This simple statement might change how she handles the rest of her day. And, I promise you it will absolutely change how you handle yours.
Which leads me to one more (probably the scariest): Hug someone. I’m not saying you should run up to strangers and give them unsolicited hugs. That’s crazy talk. But, if the moment compels you and someone shares their heart or spreads kindness your way? Hug em’. Hug em’ real good.
The feeling you get from spreading kindness every day is life changing for you…and for that stranger. I’m choosing to spread kindness every day in small ways that leave a big ol’ blissful mark. And if you spread kindness, and they spread kindness too, guess what happens?
Love fest. I’m totally game for that.
Ready, set, go.
More Random Acts of Kindness
If you want over 200 more ideas, check out this Random Acts of Kindness series.