Mindful Acts of Kindness

Buy a Kid an Ice Cream Cone

I’ve found that doing something kind for someone else has become my antidote for a crappy day. When the stress of work, the unexpected bumps of my day, and the worries of things not yet done weigh on me, I take the focus off me and look for something that I can do to brighten someone else’s day. Sometimes it’s direct. Sometimes it’s done anonymously. Sometimes I’m not even around to see the effect and am left to imagine the wonderful ways it has made that person smile.

As I began to do little acts…taking my used cup to the counter at my favorite cafe…picking up a bit of trash someone left behind…I started to become more aware of the people around me. I thought about how I treated them. I paid attention to how they felt after talking with me. I started looking for reasons to do nice things. While the thought of random acts is enchanting, the thought of being mindfully kind has a power all its own.

I like the idea that wherever I go, whatever I do, whomever I meet, I’ve done something to leave that small space a little bit better. In fact, I feel like something is left unfinished until I find some way to leave behind some kindness. Karma or no, I feel that at the very least my perception has changed for the better. I feel more open and approachable. I smile more. Things don’t bother me as much as they used to. Judging by the way people have been receiving me, they must be noticing it too.

I’m in the habit of buying a suspended kid’s cone at my local ice cream shoppe. What’s a suspended kid’s cone? I pay for an extra kid’s cone and ask the staff to pass it on to the next kid who comes in. Granted, it’s more of a gift to their parents but the ear-to-ear smile of the child who becomes part of my conspiracy of kindness is a blast to see. More often than not, the parent will pay it forward for the next kid. What’s been especially gratifying is hearing the staff tell me, “I’m going to start doing that.” Ripples. That my simple, mindful acts of kindness might be inspiring someone else to be kinder is reason enough to keep me going.

If you’re looking for some fun, simple ideas for mindful acts of kindness check these out at onelifecan.com. I know, some of these can take a bit of effort so start simply. A kind, well-placed word can have an amazing effect on a person. Say thank you to your boss. Compliment a co-worker. Scribble a quick smiley face on your waitress’ receipt. Tell a kid they’re awesome. It won’t be long before you start looking for other kind things to do.

And if you ever see me at a cafe, please let me buy you a cup of coffee. I’ve got a thousand to go.

3 Comments on "Mindful Acts of Kindness"

  • Sebastian says

    The 1,000 cups of coffee idea is great, good luck in your journey. I imagine you meet many interesting and fascinating individuals.

    I have attempted to pay it forward in drive-thrus and tolls(although these are becoming extinct). It is an incredibly gratifying experience to see the reaction of others.

    I recently saw a TED talk on everyday interactions that can change a person’s life. A simple compliment on the street can turn around their day. The example given by the speaker was that he was welcoming incoming freshman at his college by passing out candy. He gave a lollipop to a guy observing. He said give it to the most beautiful girl you see. He did this on purpose as there was a terrified girl who was there on her first day of college. She didn’t want to attend college, as she was too scared, but her parents convinced her to go and walk around with them to see how it was. She was determined that she wasn’t going, but this gesture changed her perception.

    The guy who gave the lollipop didn’t remember the act, but was confronted four years later by the scared girl. His act made her attend college and she was now engaged to the boy he had give her the lollipop.

    People have much more power than they think. You never know when that next small act of kindness can change a person forever.

    Thanks for the great read; I’ve enjoyed many of your articles.

    • serge says

      Thanks for sharing the lollipop story. I love that. Maybe I’ll add that to my list! I had read this story once about a woman whose boyfriend always smiled and waved at everyone he met even though he might not know them. She finally asked him one day why he did that and what he told her always stuck with me. He said that he read somewhere that suicide survivors often mention that if another human being had simply acknowledged their existence that day, they would have found hope and might not have tried to take their own life. So, quite literally, the boyfriend felt that he might be saving someone’s life with each smile and wave. I think that’s a beautiful thought and has become something I’ve tried to do as well. Thank you for being mindfully kind and I hope you keep spreading the kindness. Be sure to come back and share!

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