Kindness is an innate quality of most human beings. When we see it being directed towards others it makes us feel better, when it is directed toward us we feel great. Yet sometimes we feel kindly towards someone around us, especially at work, and we feel uncomfortable about showing it. Why not let your kindness genie out of the bottle and just let your kindness show. One of the best ways to do this is by practicing random acts of kindness.
Kindness doesn’t cost us anything, in fact it’s much easier to be kind than to be mean. It’s like smiling versus frowning. It takes 43 muscles to frown and only 17 to smile. It’s the same way with kindness. Not only that, we will feel much better about being kind and won’t have any negative reactions that often come with acting in an inconsiderate way. The other good thing about kindness is that is that the small kind acts that we perform will often prompt others to act in the same way. They may not show it directly to us, but when they get home they may feel a little better about themselves and show kindness to their partner or family members.
One the secret to practicing random acts of kindness is not expect any reward. That way we are not dependent on the other person’s reaction and we can enjoy the simple act of being good and kind. It really is giving without any expectation that we will receive any thing in return. Another key is to whenever possible keep the act of kindness anonymous. What about if you showed up at work one day and there was a batch of freshly baked cookies sitting on your desk? You might like to know who gave them to you, but you would still heartily enjoy them even if you never found out. Hopefully you would share some of your bounty with your co-workers and spread the joy throughout your office as well.
You can and should practice random acts of kindness on your family, friends, and co-workers. But sometimes it’s nice to show your kindness to the world by offering unasked for kindness to people you don’t even know. One Good Samaritan would carry a roll of quarters with him when he walked through downtown and whenever he saw an expired parking meter he would drop a few coins in. The people who benefited from this kindness may never know who helped them avoid a parking ticket but the person who carried out the act went around all day with a smile on his face just thinking about the impact of his random acts of kindness.
At work it’s easy to start practicing random acts of kindness. We all know someone who is having a difficult time at home. Maybe they have a very ill family member or maybe they are just down and depressed. A fresh bouquet of flowers from your garden left on their desk may just brighten their day and lessen their load. Offering to fill in for someone who is anxious about a sick child at home is a more direct act of kindness as too is just offering encouragement and support to a co-worker who is struggling with a difficult task or project.
It doesn’t take much to start practicing random acts of kindness, just a good spirit and a desire to be helpful to another person. Don’t be surprised if other people in the office start doing the same once you get the ball rolling. In addition to being very good for your mind and spirit, kindness is also contagious. Once you start you just can’t stop.
This post first appeared on my blog at www.job.ca
Mike Martin is a freelance writer and consultant and author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing With Difficult People.
He is also the author of The Walker on the Cape, a Sgt. Windflower mystery.