After recently celebrating my seven year anniversary at The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, I reflected back on my initial interview for the job. I remember being asked, “How do you think we can change the world?”
Without even thinking about it, I responded, “We have to make kindness the norm, not the exception.”
That has been my personal mission and the mission of RAK for a long time. Humans spend so much time and energy focusing on the negatives that affect us. When a moment of kindness appears, it’s as if a fog has been lifted... just for a moment. It’s lovely. It makes us feel good. We smile. But, then the fog rolls back in and we go back to ‘the norm’ of our daily lives. We don’t put in the effort to truly appreciate and reflect on those moments.
What is your ‘norm’? Where do those moments appear in your day and how frequent are they? My guess is that many of us will have a hard time answering that question because we don’t register those experiences when they happen. They are simply short, passing moments of delight.
But, what if we started being intentional about not only noticing and absorbing them when they happen to us, but creating those moments for others? What if we made it a point to go slightly outside of our comfort zone at least once a day to make someone smile? To share a compliment with a co-worker or friend? To reach out to a family member we haven’t spoken to in awhile? What if we stopped thinking about them as random acts of kindness and started thinking about them as intentional acts of kindness?
There are things we do every single day with intention, yet we don’t even think about them. We wake up, take a shower, brush our teeth, get dressed, drive to work or school… all part of our invisible routine. What if we added a moment of kindness to our invisible routine? What if we woke up and as we turn the alarm off, we immediately send an uplifting text message to a friend? Or during the morning commute, what if we let that guy merge into traffic with a wave and a smile instead of feeling upset or slighted?
As we celebrate World Kindness Day, I invite you to look for ways to make kindness the norm in your daily life. World Kindness Day is a great day to begin building a new routine which means including intentional moments of kindness, laughter and delight. It also means taking a moment to enjoy and recognize when those things are happening.
Kindness starts with one. One smile. One compliment. One cup of coffee. One conversation.
Let’s lift the fog and make kindness the norm.
By Brooke Jones, Vice President, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation
Brooke wants to live in a world where people choose kindness over violence, compassion over cruelty, and action over indifference. She also believes every office should offer yoga and a room full of kittens (for stress relief). Brooke's role as Vice President is to support the RAK team and help ensure everyone has what they need to be successful.