Random Acts of Kindness (Guest Post)

I’m lucky to come across some wonderful people in my work on kindness. Recently, one of these kindness practitioners, Jennifer Wilhoit, reached out to me with a post she had written on how to offer spontaneous kindness to the people around us. She kindly agreed to let me repost it here.

RAOK: Random Acts of Kindness … Or, A Mini Primer on Kindness

Original Post

Kindness matters. It matters a lot. Being kind is not optional, frivolous, extraneous, or insubstantial.

A random act of kindness is: “a non-premeditated, inconsistent” action designed to offer kindness to the world.

Kindness has emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual benefits for the giver as well as the receiver.

I would add…

A RAOK shies away from recognition.

A RAOK is not imbued with an expectation of a particular outcome.

A RAOK is not always received when it is offered. It is in the offering of something, whether received or not, that kindness is added to the world.

A RAOK can alleviate stress, anxiety for a good long healthy moment.

A RAOK stretches a minute into an eternity, but does not demand any future engagement.

A RAOK does not concern itself – at all – with the many ways in which we separate ourselves from others (i.e. judgments, race, class, party, nationality, status, religion, gender…) for it is inherently unbiased and connective.

A RAOK joins hearts; thus, divisiveness is impossible.

A RAOK might never be remembered beyond the moment in which it is received, but this does not diminish its impact.

A RAOK is sometimes never, ever noticed or known by anyone other than the kindness-doer; it is still a kindness to and for the world.

A RAOK has a ripple effect.

A RAOK is soft and friendly. 

A RAOK has limitless manifestations.

A RAOK focuses a person outward – on others – giving their inner life a chance to heal, replenish, clarify, bloom anew.

A few possible verbal responses to a RAOK:

What are you celebrating?

Thank you.

Why are you doing this?

You’ve made my day!

Do I know you?

For me? Really?!

Or, the unfolding of a story about why this person needed this particular kindness on this particular day.

Or, the deeper unfolding of a much larger life story…

A few possible physical reactions to a RAOK:

A smile.

Giggling.

A Shrug.

Tears.

A deep sigh.

A hug.

The reaching for a hand.

Closed eyes.

A stunned expression.

November 13th is World Kindness Day: a global 24-hour celebration dedicated to paying-it-forward and focusing on the good.

February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day.

I can personally attest to the power of RAOK! Just ask me…

Editor’s Note: You can find the full blog here. I’d especially like to note two other recent posts:

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