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6 Ways to Be Kind Today

In a broken world, choose to be kind.

Choose to be kind.

Every time I turn on the news lately, I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. 

Every time I scroll through my Twitter feed, I feel the despair at the state of the world start to creep into my soul. 

Our world is, in many ways, a very broken place. The levels of injustice are overwhelming. The enormity of the problems seem almost insurmountable. The sadness that has permeated the very fabric of our lives is matched only by the apathy that seems to threaten our very existence.  It's easy to feel defeated, like your actions don't even matter in the grand scheme of things. 

I was pondering this when I came across the old adage, "You don't need a reason to help someone." 

In a world that seems to be one step away from burning, let's change the narrative. Let's find a way to promote peace and kindness.  

If you are overwhelmed, exhausted, overworked, and operating on limited bandwidth--this list is for you. If you want to help, but feel helpless--this list is for you too. 

Here are six simple ways to show kindness today. 

<3 

1. Show appreciation to everyone you encounter - including your village.

Be genuinely appreciative. 

You already know that one of the foundations of being a polite human is to use good manners. To say "Please" and "Thank you" and "Excuse Me."

But let's go deeper than that. What does it mean to show appreciation for people? The porter at your work who is always sweeping the courtyard in a never-ending battle against pine needles and leaves? When was the last time you said thank you to him and told him you appreciate how hard he works? What about the parking attendant? The bus driver? The courtesy clerk at the grocery? Or the courier who carted that burrito you HAD TO HAVE up 6 flights of stairs at 11 PM? 

Spend a day recognizing what other people do in your life and let them know you appreciate them. 

While you do that, don't forget about your village. You know who I am talking about. The people that always have your back. The ones you do life alongside. Your crew. Your tribe. Your loves. 

The ones that we are closest to are often the ones we forget when we are embarking on a mission of kindness. Why is that, do you think? Reach out and let someone know how much you appreciate them. Let them know what their friendship means to you. Let them know how thankful you are to have them in their life. It will make their day, I promise. 

2. Pick up litter - even it's not yours.

Mother Earth Thanks You

As much as I actively nurture the geeky fantasy of humans inhabiting  Mars at some point in my lifetime, I cannot forget that we currently have a beautiful and marvelous planet that supports us...and we are KILLING IT. 

We are smothering our oceans. 
We are clogging our waterways. 
We are smogging up our air. 
We are destroying our natural spaces. 
We are endangering countless species, including arguably, ourselves. 

Picking up a single use plastic bag or a soda can isn't going to solve the problems of our Earth in one go, but there is a ripple effect. Check out the Plastic Pollution Coalition and pledge to picking up 10 pieces of litter today. Then challenge your friends or colleagues or kids or significant other to pick up 10 pieces of litter. BAM. 10 pieces of litter is a start! If you have just ONE OTHER PERSON who participates with you? You have just cleaned up 20 pieces of trash. That's amazing. 

Fact: depending on where you live, picking up 10 pieces of litter could only take approximately 2.8 minutes of your day to accomplish. I think you can spare it. 

Want to do more? Check in with your workplace or neighborhood. Organize a beach cleanup or a litter patrol.  If you have a smoking corner/area that doesn't have a trashcan for cigarette butts, consider bringing an old terracotta flower pot or metal coffee can to work and making an outdoor cigarette butt receptacle. According to the Ocean Conservancy, there are 176,000,000 lbs of discarded cigarette butts in the USA alone, EACH YEAR. 

(If you or someone you know wants to stop smoking but needs help quitting, check out www.smokefree.gov

3. Write a gosh darn card!

Spend 5 Minutes Making Someone Ridiculously Happy 

We live in a world of instant (and often brief) communication. I can text almost everyone in my life and have complete conversations without ever actually talking to anyone. It's a little surreal if you think about it. 

But even with all the technology that we have,  I am a huge fan of the art of letter writing. I love it. I get positively giddy about letters or postcards or notes. Do you know how uplifting it is to get a note from someone in the mail that says, "Hey, I was thinking about you and it mattered so much to me that I actually found a pen and a notecard and a stamp and wrote you something and mailed it to you." It's a fabulous feeling. 

So, I challenge you to write a note to someone today. It doesn't need to be fancy, just heartfelt. I would highly encourage you to send a handwritten note but if there are barriers to you doing that--send a heartfelt email instead. Reach out to someone and tell them you were thinking about them. 

Want to write to a complete stranger? Love for the Elderly "Letters of Love" campaign distributes cards and letters to elderly residents in assisted living facilities. Take 5 minutes and bring joy to a senior citizen!

4. Share your time.

 In a money-focused world, we often forget the gift of time. 

I bet you are crazy busy. 

I bet you have 900 things on your To Do list today. 

I bet you have about 903 reasons why you really cannot possibly do another gosh darn thing today. 

Yeah... I know the feeling. 

But here's the thing: we make time for what's important to us. Our time is valuable. Sometimes it is one of the most valuable things we have. 

I want you to give some of it away. I want you to give the gift of time. 

It doesn't have to be huge. Maybe you do have time to volunteer somewhere today, but maybe you don't. Maybe you have time to spend a few extra minutes with the new employee to make sure they understand something. Maybe you have a few extra minutes to listen to a child tell you, in exquisite detail, their plan to turn the backyard into a unicorn habitat. Maybe you just have the time to slow the heck down and let some people merge in front of you on the freeway. Only you know what you are capable of giving today, I just want you to find some time to give and give it. :) 

5. Give a genuine compliment... to a stranger.

Be kind, not creepy. 

So, true story... I was having A Day the other day. One of those days that could only really be described as "Shittastic" for lack of a better term. I was walking down the street and this woman yelled out at me, "Your outfit looks amazing! Have an awesome day!" annnnnnnd I almost cried because it made me feel ridiculously happy. 

I try to compliment strangers based on a few guidelines. 

"Nice [body part]!" is really more jarring than anything and can be super offensive, depending on the context. Don't do that.  

Instead, I would say something like: "Hi! I just wanted to say, I think your hat looks super awesome on you! I hope you have a great day!" And then I leave because I don't want to make people uncomfortable. 

Maybe you aren't ready to step out of your comfort zone in person, instead—be a kind keyboard warrior! Google {thing you are interested in} + blog and then find a couple blog posts that you like and leave a nice comment. Bonus points if that is a post that doesn't have a lot of comments on it. Trust me when I tell you that it will probably make that author's day. 

And finally...

6. Make like 'Frozen' and Let. It (The Pettiness). Go.

Is it worth it to hang on to? 

This is where my peace-loving-hippie comes out. You've been warned. 

Being kind means being kind and intentional with yourself and others. To me, this act of kindness means purging the negative energy and toxicity that you carry in your life from the petty, everyday nonsense that we all deal with. 

The snarky comments. The minor irritations. The grumpy moments. The minor inconveniences. 

When you carry these kinds of little petty grudges against someone or allow the resentment and toxicity to build because of a past slight, you are allowing negative energy into your life and you are damaging the relationships you hold with other people. 

Ask yourself, is that grudge that you are holding worth it? Is holding that energy improving your life somehow? Was it absolutely necessary to make your point at the expense of someone else's dignity? Is being petty about something improving your relationships?  Be honest and introspective. 

Identify a place in your life where you need to Make Peace and start to figure out how you are going to do that. Rise above the drama. Find ways to let it go. In doing so, not only will your interactions with other people be (likely) kinder, but your interactions with yourself are going to be healthier. 

Be the person who finds the joy and kindness, not the petty, unpleasant drama.

Go forth, my friends, and make the world a better place today! 

Like what you see? I would love it if you would share it on your social media so your friends can see it too! Follow me on Facebook @BekahWrites for more! 

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