Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good. But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren't feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, starting with a series of inspirational posts. We post the second Wednesday of every month.
In my work, we talk a lot about avoiding "random acts of intervention."
It's kind of like "random acts of kindness". You know, because both are random.
Don't get me wrong. I think random acts of kindness are really cool (unlike random acts of intervention). But this is what I love about The Kindness Project: it's not random.
When I say "random acts of intervention", I mean that a therapist is just doing what feels right in the moment. The intervention isn't really connected to thought or plan or causal model or anything like that--it's just what seems obvious or easy or well-understood. It looks good on its face.
The problem: it's usually not the most effective thing to do.
I'm not saying that random acts of kindness are the same way. Not at all. There's something lovely and wondrous about brightening the world in a generous and unexpected way.
That being said, purposefulness is pretty valuable. Many years ago, a book called "The 5 Love Languages" came out. It's kind of a pop psychology book. No research to back it up, as far as I know (and that's important to me--I value empirical evidence). However, the idea is intensely appealing (as evidenced by the book's bestseller status), and what I like about it is this: it's about considering the best way to show love--in the way that the recipient is most likely to fully receive it.
Whether it's words of encouragement and affirmation, spending uninterrupted (devices off!) time, giving gifts, performing acts of service, or offering physical comfort, kindness can be offered in ways tailored to the recipient.
I like that. It means you can be intentional--instead of random--when you decide how to extend kindness to someone. You can choose your target, and choose your weapon.
It's not always possible or necessary. Kindness in whatever form is a positive thing. But ...
Who do you know who could use a little kindness? What do you know about him/her? Does he like practical help with a specific task or a little note at his desk telling him he did a good job with a presentation? Does she seem to enjoy hugs or pats on the back, or does her face really light up when you deliver a cup of iced coffee out of the blue? Does he appreciate it when you just sit in silence with him? Does she like it when you let her know specifically how much you admire something she does well?
What might work for that person--which kindness would have the greatest impact for her or him specifically? Which method would burrow deepest into his heart and warm it from the inside? Which one will linger with her the longest? Which one will come to mind in a time of sadness and give him what he needs to hang on?
We're not all the same. Different things work for different folks.
What do you think? I think we can all agree that kindness is to be prized--but how do you feel when you KNOW that someone has directed a kindness at you--and specifically you, with consideration of what you might need, how it might affect you as a unique individual? Do you think that's different? Have you done that for someone else?
Posting today for the Kindness Project
Carolina Valdez Miller
Be sure to check them
out. We post the second Wednesday of every month. Want to join us? Grab our
button and spread a little kindness.
*Also, there's still time to win an ARC of SANCTUM and a map of the dark city! If you're interested, go here and comment. I'll announce the winner on Monday.