I would be lying if I didn’t admit that my ambitions and commitments outside of my work at UCLA didn’t cause moments of stress. Including waking up this Saturday morning with the added pressure of, “Arghhh, I haven’t written my musing that needs to post tomorrow.” It’s in these moments of mini-panic that I look for the proverbial refresh button to get control over my life again. For me, the 100% reliable-never-fail-stress-reliever is the all-powerful Random Act of Kindness.
Bestowing unprovoked kindness feels like a deep breath of fresh air. It clears my head and allows me to move forward… focused and revitalized.
I’m sure there is a psychological component attached to pausing in life to do something kind for someone else. For me, when I do something unexpected and kind for someone it always reminds me that we are all in this together. We all have stressors in our daily lives. We all are going through the good, bad and the ugly on a daily cycle.
The random act of kindness reminds me that no matter how overwhelming my day is, there is always time to reach out to someone through our common thread of humanity. The act of altruism reminds us that we could all use a random pat on the back just for being a fellow compatriot of the human race.
I have quite a few friends who, when at a coffeehouse, regularly buy the coffee for the person behind them in line. However, the altruistic act can be as simple as holding the door for someone walking up behind you or paying a sincere compliment about their eyes, hair or appearance.
The random act of kindness, like any form of kindness, is a fully functional two-way street. The giver and receiver both benefit from a spark of appreciation and pause. Mother Teresa succinctly takes the pressure off large ambitions with this great quote of humility, “We can do no great things. Only small things with great love.” I feel better already.
* After writing this I experienced the following. I was walking out of a store and I held the door for the person behind me. It was a 20-something year old girl who was disheveled (to put it mildly) and appeared insecure about her looks. When I held the door and said “Good morning” she looked shocked and said “No one has ever held a door open for me before.” Who knows what type of a ripple effect that one incident might have in her life.
Whether it’s random acts of kindness, paying it forward, or praying for another… our world can never have enough connectedness of kindness and love.