“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” – Unknown
I’m 13-years-old and I am walking through the hallways of my junior high school. I am wearing a cool panda-shaped hat I’d gotten on a recent vacation, and all of a sudden a girl who I’ve never seen or spoken to before tells me – and other peers that she sees – that she loved my hat. I pat my head self-consciously and then break out into a grin and thanked her. She goes off and we never see each other again.
Sometimes, it’s the tiniest acts of goodness that can restore your faith in humanity. This happened over two years ago, but I was so pleasantly surprised by the girl’s compliment that I still remember it. What struck me the most about it was the spontaneity and honesty of the act. It boggled me that someone who didn’t know me would take time out of their day to say something kind to little ol’ me! Though her gesture wasn’t anything super grand, I don’t think I’ll ever forget this small kindness from a complete stranger.
A Little Goes a Long Way
Today, this anonymous girl continues to influence me. My memory of her inspires me to be more spontaneously kind, more often. Last week I decided I wanted to give random out-of-the-blue compliments to my friends. I’d been having a tough day and I knew that a lot of my friends were stressed as well, so I thought, what can I do to cheer them up? That night I spent about an hour sending compliments to a ton of people at my school. The compliments ranged from my closest friends to people that I had only spoken with once or twice in class.
It felt amazing to do something that I knew would brighten someone’s day.
What I didn’t see coming though, was when people started complimenting me back with just as much warmth and genuineness as I had given them. One of the people I complimented even told me that I inspired her to send compliments to all of her friends. What goes around really does come around! At the end of the day, I think all of us ended up feeling better about ourselves and we became more trusting and appreciative of one another.
Kindness = Happiness
It pays to be kind— and in more ways you might think. Of course, you’ll be making someone else’s mood that much better, but by complimenting someone or doing some other act of kindness for them, you can actually improve your own mindset. When you focus on making other people feel better, you’re taking your attention off of all the bad things that may have happened in your day.
Putting your thoughts to doing something that will make somebody else happy will take your mind off the same old track of self-centered thinking; instead of reflecting on everything that’s gone wrong with you you’ll be thinking about how you can bring a smile to someone else. Getting in the habit of giving instead of expecting to get can make your perception of your own life that much better. So get out there and do it! Hold doors for people, give more genuine compliments, pay it forward, and watch your own life get better as you brighten the lives of others!
It Costs $0 To Change the World
It costs nothing to brighten someone else’s day, so why not do it? There are so many little ways in which each and every one of us can change the world, and small acts of kindness are a great place to start.
A compliment from a stranger two years ago is still a motivator for me to be kinder and give back to people today. All it took was one sentence from one person to have such a profound impact on how I act; just imagine what the world would look like if everyone gave a small compliment or act of kindness to someone else. Imagine what it would be like if we all kept at it everyday!