Today I’d like to write about Kindness. This is the idea that we move through the world and consider others first. The craze over the last decade has been RANDOM ACTS of Kindness. When I first started teaching this in the early ‘90’s, people would look at me oddly. They had never heard of it. It was a new idea. I was, dare I say, cutting edge.
I originally heard of the idea in a speech by Princess Diana. The idea really caught my ear immediately…. When she started speaking of Random Acts, I thought she was going to discuss Violence; Random Acts of Violence. How wonderful that she reclaimed the phrase to be Kindness. In present times, the phrase “Random Acts of Kindness” is part of our everyday fabric. So much so we even abbreviate it. RAoK. We can use short hand because everyone knows what we are talking about. This is progress indeed.
In my experience most people focus on the Kindness bit. Their aim is to do nice things for others, to be gentle and soothing. But what I want to bring the attention to is the RANDOM bit. How can it be Random? If we are doing Kindness on purpose, it, by its very nature, cannot be random. It is Forced Acts of Kindness, premeditated, conscious. Ideally if we hold the goal to become RANDOM, to have Kindness as our default mode, then we really will accomplish another step toward and be In Recovery Me.
By definition, good old Wikipedia says, “a RAoK is a selfless act performed by kind people to either help or cheer up a random stranger, for no reason other than to make people happier; Either spontaneous or planned in advance.”
I’m torn whether I want my RAoKs to be selfless. My motive is to do nice things because it makes me feel good about myself. Am I a selfish cow? Therein lays the debate. Selfish or Selfless. Personally, I’m going for Selfish. I am nice to other people, to the planet, to animals because it fulfils Me. This, as a motive, keeps me going. I am all for having practises and habits that make me a better person.
But in the end it doesn’t really matter why we do things. In the end it is the act that is of most importance; and the fact that we just do it.
Here’s the bit where I am supposed to make some suggestions, to inspire you to take action. OK here goes:
Leave money on a vending machine for someone.
Bake cookies for the elderly.
Serve at a homeless shelter.
Do a 5k for a good cause.
Help at a veterinarian office.
Pick up litter on the beach.
Pick up plastic.
Let someone go in front of you in line.
Give a stranger a compliment.
As you can see performing a RAoK is easy and it is wonderfully creative. It can cost nothing but time. It can make you and your world a better place to inhabit. It’s simple – so why not chose the person, chose the act and get practising now!"
Have a great day.
About the Author – Kate Hull Rodgers is an expert by experience. She has been mentally ill since 1986, more than 30 years. She is diagnosed as bi polar and GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) Every day she battles to be in recovery, many days she wins. She speaks in corporate workplaces with her company www.humourus.co.uk. She has spoken in 29 countries. Also she runs Stepping Stone Theatre for Mental Health www.steppingstonetheatre.co.uk with her husband, Bill- and she is still happily married. Mustn’t forget, she is the proud mother of Harvey and Dominic – and the dog, Zebbie.