What is considered to be an act of kindness?  I’ve been watching.  I’ve been waiting.  I’ve been observing.  I’m guessing everyone has a different idea or definition on how this should be carried out.  

To me, kindness should be a daily habit not just a random act.  It should be a part of a person’s character traits.  I hear people say, “Well I did my RAK (random act of kindness) today, I’ll be good for another day”.  Maybe they mean that with the best of intentions or maybe  that person puts their blinders back on and recoils back into their self-absorbed world.  Is that mean to say?

Kindness involves the words you use and the actions you display…everyday.  It has a direct impact on another and consequentially also impacts you and should be genuine rather than forced.  So the simple words Good Morning could be a kind gesture.  A kiss good-bye when leaving for work would be an act of kindness.  It doesn’t need to be grand or over the top to affect another being.  It doesn’t have to be limited to just people, animals need kindness too.

Most people say they enjoy the simple things or it’s the little things that mean the most to them.  I’ve been having a hard time observing that this week with people other than family.  Of course my family is kind but I was hoping to see kindness in others as I was out and about.  I specifically set out to view kindness from others this week without me being the first to prompt it.  I’ve had my 2-year-old granddaughter with me this week (big grin) and we all know how a toddler behaves (pretty sure they could be classified as bi-polar) luckily that’s just a phase for them!

So here’s what I witnessed this week,  when someone sees you coming with a toddler, some tend to  ignore you unless they’re grandparents themselves.  Seriously,  I took her to the local nursery to look for flowers and could not get anyone to help me.  There was an older couple who cooed over her and told me to be careful going down the hill as it was steep, thank you older couple!  The guys working in the nursery refused to make eye contact and the young girl simply gave me a look of comradery and sympathy combined.  I think she may have mouthed the words Stay Strong and put her fist over her heart.  I wasn’t sure how to take that so I kept moving.  When we were finally able to check out, the middle age woman behind the register was on her cell phone holding up one finger, no not the middle one.  She wanted me to wait for her to finish her conversation, really lady?!?

There was an older woman who offered to let me go ahead of her at the grocery store because I only had one item, thank you lady that was very kind!  There was a young mother at Target who rolled her eyes at me because I let Livi touch and play with the toys in the toy aisle.  When we went for a walk through the neighborhood, most adults passed by without any type of recognition yet other children would wave and say hi.

I’m starting to sense a pattern.  Young children and older adults seem to be kinder and friendly and it appears to be genuine.  They will initiate an act of  kindness first.  Other adults ages 20 – 40’s seem to be more self-absorbed,  I know that sounds a little judgemental but it’s just what I experienced this one week.

Is kindness only given out when it is received??  Is everyone just waiting for someone else to start the kindness?  Like the kids in school who always say, “No you go first!” maybe our society is waiting for someone else to be kind first.  Maybe that’s why they say be the change you want to see.  I admit that when I am the one who initiates being kind first it is reciprocated, not always but most often.

I fear as a society that we are becoming more and more insensitive to others.  People are getting beat up (literally and figuratively) over the way they look or because of what they believe in.  We get judged and condemned because we are different but should we all really be exactly alike?  Shouldn’t we be celebrating our differences, shouldn’t we be kinder to those who are different?  Based on my experiment this week,  I can say that some people won’t initiate kindness but rather they wait for it.  How long are they willing to wait?  What if everyone is just waiting for the other person to reach out, are you willing to go first?

Kindness Challenge-week 2


23 thoughts on “Kindness

  1. I am guilty of probably being the unkind person who loses my patience! I roll my eyes when someone cuts me in line, and beep at people who drive too slow. Usually I like to give others (and myself) the benefit of the doubt, but I can’t help but be affected by -and react to – the insensitive and unkind actions of strangers.

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    1. Thanks for being so honest Jackie.My husband is like that too but on a much bigger scale. I think it has become common practice to meet unkindness with more unkindness. I’m guilty of it too sometimes especially if I’m in a bad mood. One thing I always try to remember is that it’s better to give someone a piece of our heart rather than a piece of our mind.

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  2. Hi there! Found your blog through the #revofkindness tag. I had very similar thoughts this week. I feel like the rest of the world is just waiting for someone else to initiate kindness. A simple smile or hello to a stranger on the street can effect them in such a profound way. I think society has this fixated idea of what kindness should be and forget about the small little things that can be just as amazing as the bigger acts of kindness.

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    1. Well howdy neighbor! I’m glad you found me and glad you understand what I was trying to convey. Yep, we never know how those little things will impact someone else and I guess if I have to be the one to initiate it than that’s fine by me! Hope you stop back by soon.

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  3. I know exactly what you mean! That’s what I keep saying…except I’m almost 30, but that’s not the point. It so often happens that I greet my neighbours and they just stare back without saying hello….what? I can’t stop being this way, because that’s how I was raised, but at one point you can get frustrated, being always the first who initiates and mostly the only one. Sometimes it’s nice to just receive kindness in return…it doesn’t cost anything. 🙂

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    1. Don’t ever stop being that way. It’s nice that you don’t wait for someone else to initiate, I imagine you to be the happy go lucky type. Who knows, maybe my observations of strangers would have turned out differently if I hadn’t had a toddler with me this week!

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  4. I know what you mean. But it’s not always the case. Tonight at my supermarket a woman on crutches fell over and couldn’t get up. She was overweight and struggling. People came from everywhere to help her. It was heartening to see genuine concern from people of all ages. Great, thought provoking post here.

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    1. I see kindness everyday. It’s all around and abundant with family and friends and even some strangers. I kinda hope that my own kindness will inspire others to be kind to someone else. Growing up my mom taught us to smile at strangers because it could be the only nice thing that happened to them that day and I still do that to this day!

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  5. I very much agree. Kindness needs to be apart of who we are every day. And yes many people are too self-absorbed to care. All we can do is try to set a good example and act exactly how they would not. And yes, I do find older people kinder too. When I walk in the day, they are the ones who say hello back, not look away or down at their feet.

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  6. Great post! I think we all need to be confronted with our own self-absorption regularly to avoid sliding back into ourselves in the ways that you described, and your post did this brilliantly. I know that I can be guilty of being ego-centric – preoccupied with my own interests. When I catch myself sucked inward into my narrowly focused world, my intentions are never evil, but the results are the same, nonetheless. I become blind to the people around me. Even with a variety of mindfulness, meditative, and contemplative practices, it is still really hard. One of the things I like to tell myself comes from one of my mindfulness exercises, “Give your whole face.” It sounds kind of weird, but when I think about it, I relax all the muscles in my face, smile, and actually open my eyes to look around me and see how I can offer myself to whoever is present, even if it is just being present in the same moment with them, or smiling, or saying “Good morning,” or holding open a door. Maybe, my small acts will encourage others.

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    1. I think we all can be self absorbed at times and like you said it may not be intentional but it happens, it’s okay. I try to believe that we all have the best of intentions but people are busy with what they have in their own lives.
      I always make sure to hold the door for older people even if I have to wait for them to get to the door. I hold the door open for the people behind me as well and your small acts can actually be very great in the mind of someone else and they just may inspire others to do the same!

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  7. What an interesting observation. I’ve also experienced that in the past and agree that I just had to make a choice. I had to initiate it without expecting anything in return. When the kindness is reciprocated it’s a delightful surprise! Thank you for your open honest reflection. I hope that kindness is more abundant from strangers in the weeks to come 🙂

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    1. I have a lot of kind family and friends. I wanted to do some people watching and see how strangers interacted. I guess this challenge has opened up my thoughts as to what is considered a kindness. I think it varies by person.

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