7 Kind Ways to Spread Cheer
Being kind doesn’t have to cost a lot or take a lot of effort. Is there anything more contagious than a smile? That warmth and joy penetrates the outside barriers we put up and wraps around hearts. I know it sounds almost too simple, and maybe even more like a farce in today’s world. But I tried it, and I still do it today. Long, long ago in what feels like another lifetime for me, I was a Mormon Missionary in Thailand. No one really likes solicitors, proselytizers, or salesmen. I was already behind the eight ball. After being spit on, yelled at, turned away for the fiftieth time that week, I was feeling like gum stuck to the road, but I’m not a quitter.
- Make eye contact and smile (in a nice, non-creepy way).
- Tell people wherever you go, “Have a great day!”
- Be understanding of the parents with the noisy kids (they feel bad enough as it is).
- Pick up a piece of trash and throw it away (don’t forget to sanitize after).
- Remember to say please, thank you, and bless you.
- Laugh at someone’s moderately funny joke (they’re trying!).
- FaceTime/Skype/or visit an old friend.
My assigned companion and I went out again, in dresses, on bikes. Same old same, people too busy to talk, until we rounded the corner. A group of kids grinned from ear-to-ear. I mean who wouldn’t with a nearly six-foot, sunburned, red head with frizzy hair riding a bike in a dress. Seeing their glee was a sunshine on a stormy day. I couldn’t help mirror their joy, and the rest of the day, I made a point to make eye contact and smile with my whole face, especially to those that appeared to be downtrodden and tired. Even though I didn’t have much success with teaching, I believe I made a difference for some that day. Try it, and try these seven simple things:
Have Some Spare ¢ Share
Share your extra with someone else regardless their need. My parents taught me sharing makes it taste better. I don’t know how true that is, but it sure feels better for everyone. According to everydayfeminism.com, “By giving of ourselves, we trust not only people we know but also absolute strangers…Imagine what the world would look like if we trusted a [little] more.” In a ted talk titled “The Power of Kindness“, Raegen Hill shared, “Kindness breaks language barriers, touches people from all distances, and unites us all—different or alike.” Kindness matters.
- Buy a coffee for a stranger.
- Buy movie tickets for a family in your neighborhood.
- Invite someone over for dinner.
- Leave an extra-big tip next time you eat out.
“Handle [words] carefully, for [they] have more power than atom bombs.”Pearl Strachan Hurd
Words Have Power, Be Kind!
We’ve all heard how actions speak louder than words, but words stick. Good, bad, ugly, beautiful words all have great power. Choose your words with care and thought. Bite your tongue if you need. That might be the greatest service you can do because no one in this life is free form suffering. You never know who is hiding a shattered or cracked heart. Sometimes all it takes is a reminder humanity is still good. Perhaps they need to know they’re seen.
- Give someone a book you enjoyed.
- Leave a nice note or card on someone’s windshield.
- Give a genuine compliment.
- Handwrite a letter.
- Write nice comments on social media posts instead of just hitting “like”.
- Listen. Silence your devices and give someone your undivided attention.
- Give the silent love—good hugs. Bear hugs. Long hugs. Cheek-to-cheek, heart-to-heart hugs.
- Speak to someone you wouldn’t otherwise and listen to their words.
- Forgive someone who’s done you wrong, and don’t ask for forgiveness back.
- Ask meaningful questions like: What would you do if you knew you could not fail, or how are you really?