Intentional Acts of Kindness
Share this:
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Email

The phrase “random acts of kindness” is often used to describe things that catch us off guard. After my husband was diagnosed with a serious illness, we received many acts of kindness, but they didn’t feel very random. That got me to thinking–what if acts of kindness are not random, but intentional? What if we’re just not fully paying attention to the kindness of others?

Let’s start with the premise that kindness is being friendly, generous, or considerate. The word random suggests something done without conscious decision, while intention implies purpose or deliberation.

Given those definitions, consider a few examples:

  • You come to a 4-way stop, and wave the other car ahead.
  • You hold a door open for another person.
  • You smile at a stranger.
  • You offer to help a colleague at work.
  • You donate money or goods to a non-profit.
  • You bring food or flowers to someone going through a tough time.

Each of these situations presents a conscious action – an intention to first notice the other person, then the choice to act in a way that benefits the other person rather than yourself. To engage with another, to be present in the moment is an act of community, a fully human moment.

Kindness = Intention and Action

A dear friend and mentor of mine believes that kindness is about giving AND receiving: being willing and able to give something to another person and also to be able to receive without judgment, ego or reciprocity. Most of us are pretty good at giving kindness to others, but we struggle to receive the kindness of others. To be a truly kind person, one needs to GIVE and RECEIVE kindness with intention.

Kindness = Giving and Receiving

I’ve been working hard to put my friend’s advice into action. When my instinct is to suggest that I don’t need help, or I feel awkward accepting a kind word or gesture, I stop myself, look the other person in the eye and say thank you. That moment of connection and acknowledgement is humbling and satisfying, and creates a stronger bond between us.

If, like me, you’d like to practice more intentional acts of kindness, try slowing down, paying attention to those around you, and looking for ways to give and receive kindness. Go out of your way to offer a kind word or friendly smile, or to affirm someone who might be struggling with a new skill. Gratefully accept a kind word or deed from another person. Intentional acts of kindness just might be the antidote we need for all the divisiveness in the world today.

©2018 All Rights Reserved

Share this:
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *