Kindness starts with one. One smile. One compliment. One cup of coffee. One conversation. That’s all it takes to make kindness the norm in our lives.
With the coronavirus pandemic upending the routines and norms of everyday life, political divisions giving rise to anger and confrontations, and even the long-awaited rollout of the coronavirus vaccine leading to confusion, frustration, and concern, we all need more kindness in our lives.
When a moment of kindness appears, it’s as if a fog has been lifted — just for a moment. It’s lovely. It makes us feel good. We smile. But, then the fog rolls back in and we go back to “the norm” of our daily lives. We don’t put in the effort to truly appreciate and reflect on those moments.
What is your “norm,” especially during these fraught times? Where do those moments appear in your day and how frequent are they? My guess is that many of us will have a hard time answering that question because we don’t register those experiences when they happen. They are simply short, passing moments of delight.
But, what if we started being intentional about not only noticing and absorbing them when they happen to us, but creating those moments for others? What if we made it a point to go slightly outside of our comfort zone at least once a day to make someone smile? To share a compliment with a co-worker or friend? To reach out to a family member we haven’t spoken to in awhile? What if we stopped thinking about them as random acts of kindness and started thinking about them as intentional acts of kindness?
There are things we do every single day with intention, yet we don’t even think about them. We wake up, take a shower, brush our teeth, get dressed, drive to work or the grocery store — all part of our invisible routine. What if we added a moment of kindness to our invisible routine? What if we woke up and as we turn the alarm off, we immediately send an uplifting text message to a friend? Or during the morning commute, what if we let that guy merge into traffic with a wave and a smile instead of feeling upset or slighted?
As we celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day Feb. 17, 2021, look for ways to make kindness the norm in your daily life. It’s a great day to begin building a new routine which means including intentional moments of kindness, laughter and delight. It also means taking a moment to enjoy and recognize when those things are happening.
It was Anne Frank herself who said, “You can always give something, even if it is only kindness.” So make kindness the norm in your life now.