Being mindful of others and kind in action is fundamental to changing the world
THERE is no better way to connect with the world than doing small acts of kindness. You never know how the act can have a snowball effect, encouraging everyone to do the same, translating to a better world for all.
February 17 is observed as Random Acts of Kindness Day to celebrate the kindness of strangers and loved ones alike. This initiative was started in 1995 by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation because they believe: “Scientific evidence shows us the positive effects of doing kind acts for others as well as receiving or even witnessing kindness. Even the smallest act of kindness can change a life.”
Too often, we underestimate the effect that a kind word, a listening ear or even just a smile can have on those who need it and appreciate it. Even more gratifying is the fact that the simple act can make both – the doer and the receiver feel happy in some way or another.
So, this Random Acts of Kindness Day, Be Kind – It costs nothing. Be Kind – Because you never know the other person’s story, Be Kind – Because it feels good, and finally, Be Kind – Because kindness is the ultimate revolution!
Here are 10 random acts of kindness that you can perform:
1. Feed a stray
Nobody needs or deserves your love more than our furry friends with wagging tails! This simple act of good can not only bring a smile to your face but maybe also earn you a friend for life! We think that is a fair trade-off, don’t you? However, do keep in mind that while feeding the needy canines, you keep in mind some basics such as diluting milk with water or mixing something in the chapatis or rice to make them moist. This helps the dogs digest the food faster and easier.
You can also donate to Voice of Stray Dogs to help them build India’s largest, free hospital for stray dogs in Bangalore.
2. Buy extra at the grocery store and donate
Next time you are at the grocery store, make sure to buy some staples in a little larger quantity. It hardly costs anything and the poor certainly need it. If we can earn a little more than those of lesser means, we must make it a point to share the resources to spread a little cheer. Who knows? When someone sees you doing this small but thoughtful act of kindness, they may also be inspired to do the same or even mention it somewhere, starting a chain reaction of goodness.
Or, if easier for you, you could make a long term impact by subscribing to our Mission: No Child Hungry.
3. Donate used toys
Old toys often end up in waste paper bins. We outgrow them, but they never outgrow us – if you have ever seen Toy Story, you’ll know what I am talking about. However small or big, old or new toys can still bring joy to a child. Organisations such as Toybank India are working towards developing the child’s mental resilience and supporting their development through play to counteract negative environments that at-risk children may grow up in. You could either donate used toys or money so they can buy their own!
4. Buy from a brand that supports women’s empowerment
Sometimes an easy way to contribute to a cause is to buy from a brand that supports it. There are several organizations today that support women’s welfare across income strata and skills areas. While some such as Udyogini – An initiative that supports women by training them in garment making skills, others such as phool.co offers women a chance to earn their livelihoods. You can also gift yourself a wonderful bag from reCharkha Ecosocial, a sustainable fashion that employs tribal women. If you prefer to donate directly, you help buy sewing machines for trained marginalised girls to start their own tailoring business.
5. Spend time with elders
Your grandparents, if you were lucky enough to spend time with them, have been instrumental in deciding the course your future takes. More than bedtime stories, they have given us life lessons. If anyone deserves your kindness, on this Random Acts of Kindness Day, it’s them. Give them your time, a resource that is as special as it is scarce in today’s world. A listening ear and a warm heart can do wonders to their mental and, consequently, physical well-being.
You can also extend your act of kindness to lonely, abandoned elders by supporting an elder in need.
6. Treat the less fortunate person to lunch
Maybe do this! The next beggar you see at the signal today – don’t shrug them off but treat them to a nice hot meal. This is kindness in action – a simple act of enormous goodness that may restore someone’s faith in humanity. Or you could contribute to this noble idea of training beggars so they can earn their own living.
7. Compliment someone on their work
We work for a livelihood, we work to afford better lives for ourselves and for our families too. However, not everyone experiences the wonder that a genuine compliment can be. It can boost someone’s morale. It will start a sort of altruistic snowball effect! So, the next time you are at a restaurant – maybe thank the chef for their efforts, or talk to a sweeper expressing gratitude for keeping the street clean or simply give a thumbs up to your house help!
You can also appreciate the hard work that our farmers do by donating here to better their poor yearly incomes.
8. Donate books to the nearest school
Books are certainly a window to the world. Instead of throwing old books in the scrap, you could bind them nicely and donate them to the nearest library, cafe or school. The worn pages may be old but they might open new perspectives for someone. You can also contribute towards textbooks and tablets for poor rural children instead.
9. Help someone cross the road
Simple, kind, effective – this is probably the first random act of kindness that we have learnt in our schools. We may have even done them out of compulsion at the time! However, you can also bring the same into practice today. Help a blind person or an old person cross the road. Kindness costs nothing but gives you so much in return. Or you could show your kindness to the visually impaired by donating here.
10. Be kind to yourself
And, finally! The greatest act of kindness that you can practice without any cost or money or even effort is being kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for things not in your control. Use kind words when you talk to yourself – do what you can, do not dwell on what you cannot. Practice kindness to yourself and being kind to others will come naturally.
(The blog was updated in June 2022)
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A writer by profession, vocation, and most importantly by choice Amruta can be found in a sunlit corner with her books, cats and a cup of coffee.