One of the fondest memories I have of an old friend of mine is how she would bring me the funniest little things just because they reminded him of me. Nothing huge or expensive, just a little something to brighten my day like a funny postcard she found at a flea market or some homemade cookies.
She did this for everyone and we all loved her to pieces, not because of the value of the stuff she gave, but because it showed she thought of us, knew our personalities well, and wanted to brighten our days.
Doing small kindnesses for others is always a win-win. Whoever said it’s better to give than receive was right in more ways that one. We get a sort of high from doing nice things for others, even if some cynics say it means we aren’t really being very nice and it’s all just selfishness.
Phooey on them because the best kind of joy is the kind that’s shared.
There are many reasons unexpected kindness has such a profound effect on people:
● It shows that you notice them. Don’t underestimate the importance of this one simple thing. Many people feel as though they’re spending their days drifting around, invisible to everyone who passes by. When you stop and do something nice, it makes people feel more connected and helps them see that they do matter and are noticed.
● It gives them hope. For heavy consumers of media, it’s easy to feel as though the world is going to hell in a hand-basket, filled with selfish people who mean you harm. When you take a moment to be kind to someone out of the blue, it can give them the confidence to believe that things aren’t that bad.
● It adds novelty and interest to their day. Never underestimate the value of a pleasant surprise. Anything that frees you from routine can help you form a fresh perspective and give you the confidence to tackle your problems.
When you do something nice for somebody for no reason, it will predispose them to think more kindly of you after they get over their immediate suspicion. After all, it shows you care about other people, are spontaneous and not just concerned with your own interests.
Always remain open to new opportunities to nice things for other people. You might be surprised by all the ways little things that don’t require much effort or money can brighten another person’s day. Not only will it make others feel better about themselves and you, it will give you more pleasure and joy in life as well. That joy will spread to others.
Happiness is the world’s most welcome infectious agent.
Here are some simple ideas to get you started:
● Bring in snacks for the office.
● Give friends and co-workers small gifts matching their interest.
● Compliment parents on their children in public places, particularly their behavior. Even if they weren’t perfect. Who is?
● Do the classic pay for the coffee of the car behind you thing in drive throughs.
● Show up with flowers for no reason.
● Take a few minutes to listen to someone who seems lonely.
● Send letters or cards to let people know you’re thinking of them.
Being kind for no reason is the easiest way to make the world a better place. Sure, it will make people feel more kindly towards you, but more importantly, it will increase the kindness in the world so that everyone can benefit.
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