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Wellness

The Kindness Quest: Lessons Learned from a Year of Kindness

About a year ago, I experienced the biggest mental health crash of my life. I was struggling to attend my classes, lacking interest in the things I loved and was losing hope. I knew that something in my life needed to change. After some thought, I realized the one thing that seemed to lift me up – no matter what else was going on in my life – was helping someone else. And so, I founded The Kindness Quest: a daily mission to perform one random act of kindness every single day for all of 2020. I learned more from my Quest than I could have ever imagined, and now that the year has come to a close, I am so excited to share these lessons!

Kindness is Everywhere

Before starting The Kindness Quest, I remember feeling nervous that I would run out of ideas for acts of kindness: after all, 365 is a LOT of acts to think up. I could not have been more wrong! In fact, the more acts of kindness I showed to others, the easier it became to spot opportunities to be kind. I used to walk down the street without paying attention to my surroundings; now, a walk is a chance to pick up trash and smile at strangers. When I talk to my friends, my gratitude for their presence in my life now reminds me to share how much they mean to me through kind words or a sincere compliment. Kindness gets easier with practice, just like anything else in life. Best of all, once you start practicing, it becomes hard to stop!

Give Your Gifts

It can be easy to forget just how much each and every one of us has to give. When we show kindness to others, we are reminded of our own power to be thoughtful, courageous and generous. These qualities are infinitely valuable, yet easily overlooked in our everyday lives. Choosing to actively practice kindness on a daily basis reminds us to bring these special parts of ourselves forward and to share them with others, sparking a cycle of giving.

As human beings, when someone is kind to us, we naturally want to be kind back. By giving the simple gifts of kindness and generosity that every one of us possesses, we enter a practice of giving and receiving that can inspire more acts of kindness in others. We all have gifts. Let’s choose to give them.

Small Things Matter

I began The Kindness Quest with grandiose plans of life-changing acts of kindness that I would perform every single day. By the third or fourth day in, I realized just how unrealistic this was! Given that The Kindness Quest was a passion project and not a full-time commitment, I simply couldn’t devote hours and hours each day to my act of kindness. I needed to find another way. So, I tried something small. I smiled at every stranger I passed one day; I complimented a friend the next. Slowly but surely, I found that even the smallest acts of kindness made enormous differences. My relationships grew stronger, I never lost stamina and my connections grew authentically. Like a flower garden, kindness flourishes through daily nourishment and tending to, and there is so much beauty to be found in making time for this care.

Expect the Unexpected

As if discovering the importance of small acts of kindness wasn’t enough, The Kindness Quest brought dozens of other surprises along with it. When I first began the Quest, I performed my daily acts of kindness anonymously. Once the pandemic hit, however, I was forced to adapt. I moved The Kindness Quest online and began sharing ideas for virtual kindness on social media. In the span of three months, The Kindness Quest gained a following of over a thousand Questers and grew into a global community. This simple passion project generated a movement of kindness that I am so excited to bring forward into 2021.

On top of this, an international accounting firm found my website and asked me to lead a Kindness Quest for their leadership team, spurring the launch of virtual Quests for businesses, individuals and groups. I have been so honoured to share my mission with people around the world and to do everything I can to foster kindness. We could all use a little more!

Anyone Can Make a Difference

My absolute favourite part about The Kindness Quest is how unbelievably attainable it was to execute. For an entire year, I was able to perform daily acts of kindness, even in a pandemic-stricken world without direct human contact. I did this without needing to spend extraneous amounts of time, money or energy. All it took was showing up with a kind heart and a willingness to share that kindness with others.

Kindness is inside every single one of us. If you are interested in taking on a Kindness Quest of your own, please feel free to connect with me on Instagram @thekindnessquest or by email at [email protected]. We can never have too much kindness in the world, and every single person has the power to be kind inside of them. So now, I challenge you: how can you give the gift of kindness today?

 

Sarah Katherine

Wilfrid Laurier '21

Sarah is a 4th year Music Education student at Laurier University. She is passionate about wellness, education, singing, and writing, and hopes to make a difference in the world through the integration of her passions. 
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