I’m still fan of paper calendars that hang on the wall. This year, I discovered that the week of February 11 was Random Act of Kindness Week. I have no idea who decided this or when, but I loved the idea of committing a random act of kindness (RAOK) every day during that week. If you’re in my Facebook group, you saw the videos where I talked about each one. On reflection, there were many lessons learned as well as much kindness given and received.
Lesson 1: Be Aware of Opportunities
Opportunities for RAOKs don’t always come in big, obvious packages. I started the week with some BIG ideas, but it became clear that the small opportunities were right in front of me, if I’d only pay attention – and let’s face it, just because it’s small to me doesn’t mean it’s small to the person on the receiving end. For example, I was downtown and an older man stopped me to ask about the parking meters. I was so focused on my “mission” that I totally missed this opportunity and basically brushed him off. Ugh! Thankfully, another opportunity came later, but it was a great lesson in looking for the small, everyday moments.
Lesson 2: Kindness Goes Both Ways
We all know that energy has to flow in both directions for there to be a balance. Even so, I went into my RAOK week with the idea that I would be giving and didn’t think much about being on the receiving end of kindness from others. Oops! By the end of the week, I was feeling pretty worn out and not sure how I wanted to continue with this. The Universe jumped in right then to show me that kindness goes both ways. I was at the grocery store (which is not my favorite errand) and tried on numerous occasions to make my RAOK be allowing someone to go before me (in the parking lot, into the door, etc.) In the first 5 minutes at the store, each one of those offers was refused and I was politely “forced” into going first.
Lesson 3: The Moment Doesn’t Always Look Like You Think It Will
This goes along with lesson one. I had it in my head that I wanted to give a copy of my book to someone during the week. I had to run some errands and put a copy in my car. Some part of me assumed that the opportunity for gifting my book would come indoors. Because of this, I missed a chance to share the book with a boy and his dad walking their dog right in my own neighborhood. Although I did manage to finally give the book to a little girl and her parents in the parking lot of the library, it was another good lesson in paying attention and letting go of preconceived ideas.
Challenging myself this way was one of the most fulfilling and educational things I’ve done – and it didn’t cost a thing! We can all use a little more kindness in our lives and I’ve seen first-hand that when you put it out, it comes right back. So the next time you’re feeling down, try bringing some kindness to someone else’s life knowing it will come back to you too.