The Value of Small Acts of Kindness

It’s definitely still too early to get into the holiday spirit…I mean, to each their own, but I think waiting until at least after Thanksgiving to put up Christmas lights is fairly reasonable. However, there are some seasonal traditions that definitely should be embraced before snowfall this year—such as the spirit of giving.

I can’t even believe that something that cheesy just came out of me, but I’m being completely serious! I really believe that we shouldn’t wait until the holiday season to start thinking about volunteering, donating food or clothing, and surprising our loved ones with heartfelt gifts. It’s nice to have warm fireplaces and hot chocolate and all that happy-fuzzy stuff remind us of why we should try and make the world a better place, but the world is in need of that kind of feeling and action all year round.

Also, I’m not advocating that we all drop everything and start a non-profit or join the Red Cross. Those kinds of people are so important and should be admired for their dedication to bettering the lives of others. However, I think that doing the “little things” are worth appreciating, too. Sometimes, all it can take is a kind smile or word to a stranger to completely alter their day, or maybe even their life. For me, at least, having someone random simply smile at me or give me a compliment can brighten my day. People are so quick to judge each other, and it’s usually negative. Really, we are all to blame for that. You can never know exactly what kinds of hardships a stranger is going through or what kinds of struggles they have faced in their life, and showing acceptance of that person through a small act of kindness is really one of the most precious gifts you can give. So next time you walk past a homeless person by the grocery store, ask them if they’d like something from your grocery bag. Volunteer at the Soup Kitchen every once in a while. Go up to the girl crying in the bathroom and offer your help. Even if you are rejected, it’s worth it to at least try to help.

These kinds of actions shouldn’t just be reserved for strangers, either; show your loved ones you care by doing some of the “little things”. Giving a word of encouragement and a cup of coffee to a stressed out friend, or a quick five-minute call to your mom are a few little ways to show kindness. The smallest gestures can sometimes really speak the loudest about how much you care.

And while I’m at it—don’t forget to show the planet how much you care by doing the little things, too! Picking up a stray piece of paper on the group, going out of your way to recycle or donate something, taking a second to check that you’ve turned off all the lights, and taking the bus or riding your bike to class instead of driving are a few simple ways to show the planet that you care about it’s health and wellness, too. Even though they are little actions, they can add up to make a huge difference!