30 day kindness challenge

Oh what interesting times we live in nowadays. I feels since the pandemic, the world has become a much smaller place. For safety reasons, we don’t get out much anymore. We are confined to our electronic devices. Social media has largely co-opted our real social life which used to be done in person. Have you noticed yourself becoming a bit detached from your community in favor of “doom scrolling?” I know I have.

A friend of ours had a tragedy recently. Her small dog was attacked by a larger dog and unfortunately succumbed to a punctured lung. Our friend, who is also my wife’s coworker, was devastated and could not work the next day as she was overcome with trauma and grief. My wife started a text chain with her other coworkers to help support our friend. They all pitched in to buy her family flowers and a sushi platter. We delivered the flowers and platter last night, and our friend looked spent with emotion. She just hugged my wife sobbing. She gave us the rest of her deceased dog’s belongings because she could not bear to throw them away.

She texted back later stating that the sushi was the first thing she has eaten since the tragedy, and that she was able to function a little better.

As we have dog-sat our friend’s lost family member, it felt as though we lost one of our dogs too. That night we hugged or dogs extra tight, knowing that all of our time together is limited. Conversely, that was the first time I have felt tremendous empathy in a long time. We felt the pain of our friend, but also felt the joy of being able to help her through this difficult time.

I saw a bumper sticker on a car the other day that said “Make America Kind Again.” That also struck a chord. Social media has taught us to yell at each other from the safety of our own couch. How many Reddit posts do you see that are trending of someone helping out another human being? Rarely.

I Googled “how to be kind,” and got these very simple tips:

1. Smile 

2. Look for ways you can promote peace.

3. Just listen.

4. Offer a hug 

5. Invite someone new into your friend circle.

6. Send out a kind email 

7. Give someone a genuine compliment.

8. Help clean up, without being asked

9. Hold open the door for the person behind you.

10. Encourage a friend or family member when they are uncertain or unmotivated.

11. Make peace with someone that has hurt you.

12. Strike up a conversation with a stranger.

13. Let someone into your lane while driving.

14. Pay for the person behind you in line.

15. Give your time to a friend or someone who needs it.

16. Say Thank You and Please everyday without fail.

17. Meditate on loving kindness: “May you be happy, healthy, peaceful, and free from suffering, and may my actions in some way contribute to the happiness, health, peace, and freedom for all.”

18. Say “I love you” a little more often to your family and friends.

19. Pause before you speak, and choose words with positive intention.

20. Help someone get some rest (watch their kids, run an errand, bring them dinner, etc).

21. Pick up litter you see thrown about even if its not yours.

22. Remove complaints and curses for one week.

23. Gift something meaningful to someone: loan a book, bring flowers, drop off cookies, whatever suits your fancy.

24. Make a donation.

25. Give up your seat.

These are all simple. So I challenge you to practice one or some of these for the next 30 days. I think it will make a difference in your personal life, your community, and even the world at large.

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