In 2010, I waved at a stranger. It was dreary outside and the man swiveled his neck to see who I was waving to. Honestly, he looked like a crane in that moment; the way his neck slowly moved backwards was almost eerily familiar. With a toothy grin, I mouthed a quick hello to indicate that I was indeed directing my wave towards him.
When the aforementioned man realized that I was waving at him, his smile was truly priceless. The weather seemed to lighten up and I’m convinced his smile emitted real, bright sunbeams. Our greeting was a moment of unadulterated joy.
This memory is permanently ingrained in my mind because it demonstrated to me the real power and simplicity of kindness.
People aren’t used to being noticed. With faces glued to phones, it takes a level of intentionality to make eye contact these days. All I know is that the effort of taking a moment to be kind is well worth it.
Here are 5 easy ways you can spread kindness in your community:
Pay for the coffee behind you
Feeling generous? Pay for the person behind you and put a smile on their face!
Send a letter
Handwritten notes are uncommon, but people really love receiving snail mail. Think about it: mailboxes are mostly filled with bills and coupons, so taking the time to add some sparkle by mailing a letter is truly magical. Personally, I love sending postcards. In fact, I recently ended an experiment where I sent a postcard a day for 44 days. It was simple, yet sending these notes quickly became one of the best parts of my day.
Give a Compliment
“If you see something beautiful in someone, speak it!” - Ruthie Lindsey
This may seem small, but your words carry weight. When you notice something beautiful about someone, tell them. Your compliment may be something they can carry with them for the rest of the day.
Ask the cashier how their day is going and make sure you actively listen. Think about it: everyone likes to feel seen and heard, but when is the last time you really heard someone?You can also practice actively listening with your friends and family. This means that you keep your phone turned upside down, your eyes locked with whomever is speaking, your mind engaged and your mouth closed. Instead of offering up immediate advice or trying to fix what is being shared, ask questions about the situation and continue to listen.
Offer your time
Your time is a gift and where you choose to spend it speaks volumes. If someone is moving and needs help, offer your time. If your friend has had a hard day, offer them a friendly ear and dinner at a restaurant. When you are at the grocery store, text your roommates or neighbors to see if they need anything at all while you are out. You could even invite your neighbors over for dessert. Whenever you can, however you can: offer up your time.
OK, now tell us!
What’s your favorite way to spread kindness? We’d love to hear all about it. Leave a message in the comment section below.
Courtney Ruth is a co-founder of KOYA Innovations, Inc. KOYA is a free app that makes it easy to show you care when you can’t be there. In addition to her entrepreneurial endeavors, Courtney is a Samba admirer, Prosecco lover, and adventure enthusiast on a mission to make Thursdays everyone's favorite day of the week! Learn more about KOYA here, or download the app here.