Almost every day, I wear a piece of ceramic jewelry around my neck: a yellow flower with the inscription “Be Kind.”
It reminds me of the power of intentional kindness, which is one of the driving motivational factors in my daily life. It’s something so simple, yet so powerful, but still doesn’t occur on a day-to-day basis.
We live in an era that can be angry, hopeless and bleak. With recent terrors like the attack in Brussels or the mass shootings that have occurred in the United States, like the one that happened in my own hometown Newtown, it doesn’t seem like there is much we can do.
But we can always be kind.
While eating breakfast at my favorite diner in my hometown, my friend and I noticed a young man eating alone. After he left, the waitress approached us asking us if we knew the guy.
We didn’t, but she said he paid for our meal, saying it was his act of kindness for the day. I was shocked. I didn’t particularly need a free breakfast, but his thought and kindness touched me.
I had heard of kindness chain events where a line of people will pay for each other’s meals at a drive-thru, but nothing like that had ever happened to me. It made me feel positive and have faith in people.
I was unable to thank him, but to continue the kindness and return the favor I left the waitress a large tip. Though events like this are often a rarity, there are small acts of kindness we can still do every day.
It’s so simple to hold a door for someone, give a compliment or even just smile. Depending on the day, these simple acts can make a world of a difference.
Legislation is slow, people can be selfish and I accept that I can’t make things change in the grand scheme of things. But if we each complete one act of kindness every day, we could band together to make a more positive, happy environment.
The necklace I wear comes from Ben’s Bells, an organization whose mission is to inspire, educate and motivate people to realize the impact of intentional kindness. According to the site, “Recent research demonstrates that kindness benefits our physical and mental health, and that recognizing kindness in others increases a person's happiness and satisfaction.”
Not only does being kind make someone else feel good, it makes us feel good as well. That is the power of positivity.
You can never know what someone is going through by looking at him or her. Hardship, pain and sadness are not visible from the outside, and one simple act of kindness could do so much to brighten someone’s day.
I challenge everyone to do something nice for someone each day, whether it's holding the door or buying your roommate her favorite chocolate. What will be your act of kindness today?