Five Ways I Like to Spread Kindness
Why save up all of your kindness for one day of the year? While World Kindness Day is a worthy holiday to celebrate, I like to express my kindness anytime I get the chance.
It's easier than you think to show kindness, even to strangers. While some acts of kindness require money, others don't have to cost you a dime.
Hold the Door Open
One of the most simple kind gestures you can make is to hold the door open for someone. They don't have to be older than you or have an armful of groceries either. It's an easy thing to do, and the only cost is an extra moment of your time while you wait.
I sometimes find myself stepping up my pace to grab the door for another person. I also make sure to say a quick “thanks” anytime someone holds a door for me. Sometimes showing gratitude for small things makes another person's day and attracts more positivity to your own.
Donate to the Right Places
I love to give my things away when I don't need them anymore, but they still have a lot of life left in them. However, I get upset when I go into a thrift store only to find the expensive items I donated have been trashed (it has happened). So, when it's time to donate, I have a few excellent tips for you:
- Pass on the corporate thrift stores: Look at locally owned, small-business thrift stores that possibly donate the money from sales to local churches and facilities.
- Pick places that can use what you have to offer: Rather than donating nice business clothing to a thrift store, find out if there is a shelter for battered women or the homeless where your clothing can help someone change their lives. If you have old towels or blankets, see if the local animal shelter can use them.
- Stuff you don't think you can donate: Before you toss your old prescription glasses or bras in the trash, look into places that can use them. Some places take gently used bras to give to women in need, and there are businesses that take prescription glasses to give to people who can't afford new eyewear.
Send a Card in the Mail
For the price of a stamp, you can make someone's day with a letter in the mail. Send cards to folks at the hospital, old or young. Find out where to send letters to military personnel stationed overseas. Or, send postcards to some friends and family you haven't been in touch with in a while. If you have a little extra money, consider sending care packages to the military.
Another thing I always enjoyed when I was young was having pen pals. There are websites where you can sign up to be pen pals, which gives you the opportunity to send surprise gifts to people all over the world. What's so kind about it? You're making long-distance friends with someone you don't know, and you may not realize how much they appreciate your friendship.
Leave Some Quarters in the Machine at the Laundromat
If you use a laundromat to wash your clothing, you know it's not always the cheapest way to deal with dirty clothes. However, not everyone has the space in their home for a washer and dryer or the money to invest in them.
Next time you're at the laundromat, leave some quarters behind. I like to leave them in the slider of a washing machine, possibly filling two or three slots up as a pleasant surprise to the next patron. This has been one of my favorite things to do when I can't wash my clothes at home. I got the idea after getting a load or two free myself when a generous stranger left their quarters behind for me.
Pay for Someone's Meal or Drinks
If you have some extra money, your time in the drive-thru or dining in at a restaurant gives you a chance to pay it forward. Leave some money with the cashier at the drive-thru to go toward the next person in line's meal, or wave your waitress over as she's taking someone's check to them and offer to pay it.
What's cool about both of these scenarios is that you don't have to let the people know it was from you. Sometimes kindness feels even cooler when it's completely anonymous.