We’ve all come across those times when we unexpectedly receive a kind word from someone we might not even know. A stranger opening a door for you. Someone random smiling at you as the rest of the world holds their heads down walking down the street. A comment out of the blue that to you is the best thing you’ve heard all day.
I’m grateful today for the plentiful times I have and continue to align with the little bits of kindness others dispense, often when don’t necessarily intend to go out of their way to do so. That’s the beauty of it: we don’t have to think too hard to be kind. I have always believed that humanity is innately good, and I’m proven time and time again this notion when these moments happen.
If I spent this entire post as a brain dump of every time a little act of kindness took me aback and blew me away, we’d be sitting here all day, and that’s not the whole point I want to make. But yes, people who could be my friends and family, or especially those who I have never talked to before or would never interact with outside that one moment have this magical quality of surprising me with thoughtful comments and genuine compliments.
Don’t get the impression that I am constantly amidst waves of people flaunting me because that’s definitely not the case. Most days, I’m honestly glad if I myself talk to others beyond my daily obligations. I just choose to really cherish those times when I’m taken outside of my bubble and snap back into a mindset that is in awe of the beauty surrounding me, beauty that I can too often take for granted when I want nothing more than to finish my classes and assignments and avoid talking to people like the plague.
Now more than ever, the opportunities for these moments happen more often, all thanks to technology. Not everyone is keen on opening themselves up to the internet world. It’s certainly not the most welcoming place, and people can be cruel. But I cannot tell you how much a kind comment on a blog post or a thoughtful message to a social media inbox means to me. Heck, even just a Facebook friend tagging me in some random content because they thought of me seriously makes me melt.
Sure, a lot of people might say this isn’t the same thing as a kind gesture in person and downplay the integrity of online kindness, but I still cherish it just the same. Kindness is kindness. It’s easier to type something behind a screen or press a few buttons while you’re already scrolling through your feeds, but you still took the time to do it. And the proportion of times you’re on social media (which, for a lot of people, is several times a day) compared to how often you might go out of your way to comment something thoughtful on someone’s post or reach out to someone you usually don’t talk to? It’s probably about the same as in-person interactions.
The internet is a platform extending our personalities beyond just the physical realm. We have even more chances to share our thoughts and ideas with others. And I am grateful for those people who choose to use that privilege to do good. To encourage and uplift others. To actively want to bring smiles to others’ faces. To remind people that they aren’t alone. To provide an outlet for those struggling to express themselves and feel secure.
And I’m grateful for the traditional sense of kindness, including voicing your gratitude often. There is still immense value in gifts just because, in outreach to people with a simple greeting and warm embrace, in random compliments that may just stay in our heads but should rightfully be heard.
You have a greater impact in this world than you may realize. Your existence matters. You never know when your words and actions might be the reason someone smiles today, that they decide to keep fighting and stay alive. Your kindness could be keep someone replaying that moment over in their minds and inspire them to be nicer people. We pay it forward, and when we express kindness to just one person, that kindness will truly come back to us.
What can you do today to spread little extra kindness? The world often feels like a daunting, dark place, but we have the potential to make it brighter. Don’t overlook your valuable gift of joy.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie