Thursday, February 25, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

A few months ago I stumbled upon a blog that, regardless of my mood, always makes happy. The author of the blog, Secret Agent L, spreads kindness around Pittsburgh by leaving little notes and gifts in various places for some unsuspecting soul to find. In addition to herself, now there are others (Secret Agent Affiliates) leaving little bits of happiness around the city hoping to brighten someone's day.

When was the last time you went out of your way like this to spread a bit of kindness? I like to think that I'm a kind person to everyone but the truth is, more often than not, I'm kind to those I don't know when its convenient for me.When I'm in a bad mood  or having a bad day I have a tendency to become incredibly selfish with my time, money, and just generally whine "but I don't wanna." Its easier to be indifferent or merely go about my business without giving a second thought as to what another person might be dealing with in their life. When I'm feeling like this, this is exactly when I need to remember to extend a kindness.

At random times in the past few weeks, things that don't normally bother me have annoyed me. My patience has been short, my temper on the verge of unleashing bottled up fury. Then I received a much needed thoughtful (but still butt kicking) email from a friend that changed my attitude. I was reminded of the Leo Buscaglia quote:

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

I'm making a more conscious effort to be kind to others, especially those I don't know. It only takes a few moments to stop what I'm doing in my own life to seize the opportunity to make someone else's life a little better. Doing random acts of kindness may not only brighten another's day but mine as well. One of the reasons I'm drawn to Secret Agent L's blog is because she's putting kindness out into the universe not knowing who is going to find it. I like knowing that whomever finds that kindness may then in turn pass that kindness on to someone else starting a chain of kindness that has the potential to reach who knows how many people. I need to do more of that. I want to do more of that. 

I'm going to do more of that, after all it only takes a few mintues.

Have you ever been on the recieving end of a random act of kindness that inspired you to pass that kindess on to someone else? What is your favorite random act of kindess?


amanda said...

oh my gosh! i love this. thank you for introducing me to secret agent L! random acts of kindness are just the best. i always say i'm going to do more things just because, but rarely end up doing them.

for years now i've wanted to go through the toll booth and pay for the stranger behind me. but i have yet to do it.

today, i'm going to try and not let the little things annoy me and get under my skin. thanks for the reminder, mandy!


ps, more snowwwwwwwwwwwww....ahhhh!

Pam said...

I am off to check out her blog - what an awesome idea.

I feel almost selfish when I do a random act of kindness, I get so much satisfaction out of making someone feel good. Great post.

Kyla Roma said...

I think that your (not so) random act of listening to me yesterday was an amazing act of kindness =)

This is kind of how I view the blogging community every time I e-mail or comment back its a little drop of happiness in someone else's day.

L.C.T. said...

I blogged on this very topic just before Christmas because of the film Evan Almighty.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of or read Secret Agent L; thanks for sharing =)

I think my favorite random act of kindness that I've experienced:
1. my old roomy, years ago, woke up, took my keys and warmed up my car/scraped off all the snow.

2. When people hold doors open for me, especially when i have a lot in my hands. so simple but so awesome.

I offered to help a Vietman War Vet carry his bags on my way to Florida; he wouldn't let me but thanked me for offering.

Pretty much anything I can do to assist an elderly person makes me happy, whether it be offering my arm, opening a door, or picking up something they dropped. I assume that counts of random acts of kindness!?

I'll definitely try to do it more though :)

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

This post is reminiscent of the commercial out now of people witnessing other people's act of kindness, which motivates them to do the same.

I always hold the door for others. Or stop for people crossing the street. And in a city like Chicago, it's amazing how many people are pleasantly surprised by the kindness.

That said, there's an amazingly high number of people who behave like it's expected I'd hold open the door for them. They don't acknowledge me or my actions. And to them, I usually yell, YOU'RE WELCOME. Jerks. =)

Amber said...

I completely agree with Kyla. Comments on my blog are little drops of happiness spread throughout my day.

I LOVE leaving operation beautiful notes ( I have been leaving A LOT lately and it makes me feel so good!

Anonymous said...

Yours is the second blog I've read today with this theme ~ I like it! And I will definitely check out Secret Agent L! I think complimenting people - encouraging them - is my favourite "random act of kindness". Even if it's a complete stranger ...

TMC said...

My favorite act of kindness is sharing food. Whatever I've got, I want to share it.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I'm in love with the link you posted... what a brilliant idea!

Secondly, I think trying to be actively doing random acts of kindness is pretty awesome!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I think the emails & texts you send to check in on me are random acts of kindness. I know you could also say that is part of being a friend, but you do a very good job of being a friend. :) It is nice to know someone is thinking of me and cares about how I am doing!

I am not very good about the whole random acts of kindness thing. I want to start to send random notes to people in the mail - I figure that will brighten a person's day!

Bayjb said...

I joke that I do one nice act a day and then can go back to being mean. That is an actual joke. While sometimes i'm not the nicest person, I always pick up a glove if it falls and get the person's attention, hold doors or help someone in need. That is just ingrained in me, I need just remember to connect with it more.

Ally said...

Shifting negative thinking by doing things for others is a two for one deal I'd say. I don't know that I've specifically gone out of my way lately, but I think I'm generally kind to people. I hold doors, help them carry something, say hello and ask how they're doing, etc. I don't consider those kinds of things actually going out of my way I guess. :)

I believe one of the biggest reasons we're here is to bring kindness and compassion to others, and I am all for actions that support that purpose.

Holly Renee said...

What a cool idea. I have had friends, as well as strangers, help me out when I least expected it and it has always made such a difference. Great blog, thanks for sharing!
-Holly Renee

Anonymous said...

Lovely post, makes me want to start doing things like that. I try and do things to make other people's days a little better - smiles, holding doors open, saying bless you when a stranger sneezes, but leaving something that could brighten someone's day sounds like such a lovely idea :)

Stephany said...

I try my best to do this to people I come in contact with just because I know how good I would feel if I was on the receiving end to it.

But I would like to do them more to total strangers because sometimes, when you're having a bad day (or week), just kindness from a stranger you don't even know can make a world of difference!