Random Acts of Kindness – The RAK.
It was my birthday on Monday! Happy birthday me! However, being a little older, birthdays are just another one of those days that comes and goes. Of course, there is the usual flurry of cards and small presents etc. but something struck me on Monday as I logged into Facebook in the morning for a quick catch-up. It was rather early and already I had three people wishing me well on my birthday. By the end of the day the figure had risen to 30+ and didn’t I feel special!
Now there were well wishers that I knew. Family, friends, colleagues past and present but there were many from people I had never met before in my life! Because of my hobby and love for Huskies I have become part of an ever growing community on Facebook with the same interest. People from France, Canada and a plethora of other places all sending their kind words in a multitude of languages. People I’m never even likely to meet and it struck me how kind it was of them to send birthday wishes to someone they’ve never met before. It really just added to the feeling of a special day.
Shouldn’t we all try to be kind to others? This example, the sending of birthday greetings on a social medium, took very little energy or time on the part of the sender. Yet the recipient (i.e. me) really did start to feel quite special because of it. So little energy used to have such a massive effect has to be worth considering that we should be kind to others a lot more often! I am a great believer in the “Random Act of Kindness” or RAK as its becoming more popularly known. I often travel to London either to stay abreast and further my education in my field or to lecture myself. Arriving at Waterloo, it is a short walk across the Thames to where the lectures are held and I start by getting to the bridge via the subways leading past the IMAX. Now those of you that know the area will know that these subways are a favourite spot for the homeless to bed down for the night. Usually I will buy a few coffees in the station and hand these out to any homeless I pass. A random act of kindness. Perhaps my urge to do this is born out of the awful statistic that far too many of these homeless are ex-military and of course, being ex-military myself, I have something of an affiliation with them. I’m not giving them the spare change in my pocket to put toward any unfortunate habit they may have succumbed to. I’m simply giving them a hot drink to warm them through on a chilly morning. In some small way I’m making them feel better. The look of firstly surprise and then thankfulness in their eyes is always priceless to behold. I know in the great scheme of things that a random cup of of coffee from some passing weirdo is not going to make a great difference to them, however, for a few minutes they can feel that someone does actually care. Giving to charity is always born out of kindness. Whatever the cause that strikes a chord with you, texting ‘GIVE’ to 61XXX can bring a certain feeling of having done your bit. But there is nothing quite like being face to face with the recipient as in my example.
Being kind to others not only benefits the well-being of others, but has a profound effect on one’s own well-being. You can revel in the fact that you have been kind to someone else, feed from the positive energy this brings. At the end of the day, it takes so little to give a RAK to someone, yet the benefits to both you and the recipient are immeasurable. Go on! Try it, and see what you think. Post your RAKs here if you like and share them. It’s a wonderful tool for well-being.