In Aesop’s famous fable, “The Lion and the Mouse,” it is said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
Although Aesop’s time was long, long ago (600 to 500 BC!) – this simple message is still just as true today. Maybe more than ever, since our world has morphed from local townships and hamlets into a global network.
There is something deeply gratifying about making someone’s day, giving someone a smile – be it a stranger or a friend. If you DO good, then you tend to FEEL good. Which leads to more acts of kindness, more good feelings – it’s just a win/win for everyone involved.
You are probably already a kind, good-hearted person – but how about taking a little bit of time to spread that kindness around?
Here are three ways you can do so, this week – for free (or at least super affordable)!
1. Carry some Post-It notes with you. Use them to give someone a smile!
Get yourself a pad of sticky notes – they come in all kinds of bright colors other than the typical yellow – you can get lime green, electric blue, passionate pink – you get the idea.
Keep it with you, along with a good pen – wherever you go this week. Leave messages of thanks, kindness, words of inspiration, and so on for others to find. Here are some examples:
- If you eat at a restaurant, jot down a note of thanks and leave it with your tip.
- If you go to the library or bookstore – leave notes in a few (or several!) books for readers to find – you can just say “Hope you are enjoying the read – have a happy day!”
- Write “you are beautiful, just the way you are!” and leave it on the bathroom mirror of a public restroom for women (note: men, please don’t do this – leave this one for the ladies!).
- Before you get in your car when you know you will be driving on a toll road, jot down something like “thanks for all you do – you are appreciated!” and then hand it to the toll booth employee when you go through the line (if you’re not tossing change in a basket, obviously!).
- If you have children, put a sticky note in their lunchbox telling them how much you love them and how proud you are of them.
- If you have teenagers, you can do this too – put it in a school binder or textbook for them to find.
- Stick one in your spouse’s briefcase or purse, stating the things you admire most about them.
- Leave them anywhere really. Write out short, happy, inspirational quotes and stick them on tables, chairs, shelves, any place will do.
If you do some of these – you are guaranteed to make someone’s day. And you never know, it could be someone who is having a rough day, and your act of kindness could turn it around!
2. Make a meal or a treat for a neighbor or friend, “just because.”
Although it’s fun to leave surprise notes for strangers and loved ones – it’s a great idea to let a friend or neighbor know that you appreciate them when least expected. In other words, pick a time that is not a birthday, holiday or other “special occasion,” and make any day into a special occasion!
Do you have a special dish or treat that everyone raves about? Whip something up, and immediately take it to a neighbor or friend! You can write a note saying “Just thinking of you and wanted to show you I care,” or you can just tell them that in person – either way, you will make their day!
3. Mail someone a postcard or a letter.
Okay, so this one isn’t free – but nearly so – the cost of a stamp today is less than 50 cents, and much less for a postcard!
You can find loads of funny, cute, or regional style postcards at stores everywhere. Pick one that strikes your fancy, jot a few words of encouragement and a “just thinking of you!” and send it off to a friend or family member.
Or, you can put a little more time into it, and write a letter. A real, authentic, hand-written letter (something becoming quite rare today). It doesn’t have to be deep, thought-provoking, fancy, or even long. Just let your mind go free and share whatever you feel like – and let them know you were just thinking of them and thought they would enjoy a letter.
Getting REAL mail as opposed to bills, advertisements and catalogues is an incredible and rare treat today. How much fun to get something like this in our era of instantaneous communication!
So there you have it, three very simple, free (or nearly free) ways you can spread some joy and kindness around. And who knows? Your act of kindness could very well inspire someone else to do the same – and the joyful, thoughtful trend goes on…
Image source: flic.kr