Recently at a church meeting, I heard someone emphasize the difference between being kind and nice. We often use the terms interchangeably, but they’re really quite different. Being kind has much more depth. We’re all taught to be nice, to be polite. We don’t want to be rude, so we’re nice in our interactions with one another. Being kind, on the other hand, requires more effort, more thought, and produces more benefit–to the giver and the receiver.
For the next 30 days, I’d like to challenge myself and each of you to be kinder to one another. If you’re in a situation where it’s a challenge to even be nice to someone, you’ll find it a real stretch to be kind. Or you may discover as you look around you that family, neighbors, and friends need something more than you normally give them. What could you do to be more kind, more genuine?
Here are some ideas to guide you on your 30-day journey to reach out to others in kindness.
1. Text or email something meaningful. Technology is a wonderful tool for keeping in touch. We can send photos of our family, our most important aspects in life. Or perhaps we share a meaningful quote. Reach out to someone online and share something to brighten their day. Here’s an image to get you started, or feel free to find something else that works for you.
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2. Do something anonymous for someone in your family. This is tricky if you all live in the house together. Be creative; be sneaky. Don’t let them catch you. If it’s just the two of you, you obviously won’t be anonymous, but you can let it be a fun surprise. Some ideas? Do a chore for them that they hate to do. Make their favorite dinner or treat. Leave a fun note on the bathroom mirror.
3. Visit someone in person. Give this some thought. Who could really use your visit today? Don’t worry about taking them anything. Just reach out and drop by for a visit. If the person you have in mind lives too far away for a personal visit, call instead of text. Hear their voice, and let them hear yours.
4. Smile and say hi to a stranger. Are you out doing errands today? Go out of your comfort zone a little and say hi to someone you don’t know. Maybe it’s the cashier at the grocery store. Or maybe it’s the person in line behind you. Just say, “Hi, how are you today?”
5. Leave a flower. Receiving a flower, whether anonymously or with a little note, is the best pick-me-up ever. Trim a flower from your yard or purchase a single bud from a florist. You could also print out a picture of a flower and deliver that. Here’s one you might consider:
6. Share something to read. Have a book that you just love? Why not share your copy with someone? Or maybe you have some extra magazines around the house that you’re not using. Think of someone else who might love to have them. Maybe you know of someone who is ill or homebound. They might be tired of reading their own materials. Even having access to the internet doesn’t mean they have enough worthwhile things to read. Sometimes it’s helpful to have someone else suggest a good read. Not sure of books to suggest? Click here to see some great options; then offer to make a trip to the library to pick up a book of their choice.
7. Share a song. Do you have a song that really touches you? Currently, I’m in love with “This Is Me,” by Keala Settle, featured in the new hit sensation The Greatest Showman. I love this Youtube clip that shows the story behind the song. It’s a great one to share.
If you play a musical instrument, you can also share a song through your talents. Or simply sing a song with a child. Even “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” can brighten a young one’s day. Can’t carry a tune? It’s just fine to share the lyrics.
8. Notice your neighbor. Keep your eyes open for something a neighbor needs. Sometimes we overlook the people who live closest to us. Try to fill a need for them. Could you walk their dog? Bring in the trash? Shovel some snow? Take over a meal or a treat? One of my favorite things to do is take over some fresh-squeezed juice from the grocery store. I call it “heaven in a bottle.”
9. Pray for someone in need. Keep them in your thoughts today. Pray to learn of specific ways you might be able to offer help. Or pray that they’ll have strength to continue through their challenges or that medical professionals will know how to help them. Pray that no matter the outcome they will have faith that things will work out.
10. Learn about someone’s illness or challenge. This is not being snoopy. This is an effort to sincerely understand someone’s challenge. I recently discovered that my friend’s son has acute myeloid leukemia. It sounds super scary, and I knew nothing about the condition. To better support her and her family, I googled the term to learn more. I don’t plan on offering any advice, but I feel that I’m more knowledgeable on what she’s going through. Down the road, if she needs help, I’m much more aware of her situation. And as I comment on her social media posts, I can offer better, more meaningful support.
11. Leave a note for a stranger or someone you don’t know well. This one is easier than it sounds, and it’s super fun! Just leave an uplifting quote or a fun joke under someone’s windshield wipers. You don’t have to put your name on it, of course. Or leave a cute note like this one on their doorstep:
12. Listen today. When people talk to you, really try to understand what they’re saying. Don’t think about your response while they are talking. Just listen and resist the temptation to offer advice. I’m terrible at this, but most people can figure out their own solutions. They just need someone to listen to them while they talk aloud and sort things out. Here’s a helpful article with some great tips on becoming a good listener.
13. Write and send a handwritten card to someone you know. All of us love receiving handwritten cards in the mail. It’s becoming a lost art, and it shouldn’t be! I have a small collection of keeper cards which I treasure. Several of the cards are from people who have since passed on. I love seeing their handwriting and personality in their notes to me.
14. Write or email a note of encouragement to a stranger in need. In this post, I share several ways you can serve from home. There are wonderful organizations that allow you to send words of encouragement anonymously to those who need it most.
15. Thank a local service provider. Email, write, or call someone who helps the community but likely never receives recognition for their efforts. Perhaps this is the postal delivery person, the police or fire department, a secretary at the school, a teacher, or a janitor where you work. Offer a sincere compliment and thank you. There’s no need to get fancy. A simple note would be wonderful, and if your creative juices are flowing, you can do something like the following ideas.
16. Leave a dollar. Next time you’re at the store, leave a dollar bill in a spot where someone will notice it. Attach this note or something similar. A dollar may not be much, but it’s a reminder that someone cares, and it inspires others to do good things.
17. Play with a child. Don’t have a child in the home? Borrow one or reach out to a grandchild, niece, or nephew. Let them take the lead on the activity. You might be surprised at how much fun you have. Need to reach out long distance? Read a children’s book over the phone. If possible, Skype or do Facetime so you can share the pictures.
18. Get to know your best friend. How well do you know each other? Take this quiz, once for yourself and once for what you think your friend would answer. Then share it with your friend. Have them answer as you did. Compare to see how well you know each other. Tip: This can be a handy reference for future gift giving.
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19. Pick a good cause and donate whatever you can to it. Maybe you donate your time, or maybe you donate money. Either way, you’re blessing someone else. If you have a few minutes, do a google search and learn of some new charitable organizations. Justserve.org is a site I like to visit.
20. Run an errand for someone. Know someone who’s homebound or maybe a young mother with her hands full? Offer to do a little grocery shopping or stop by the library.
21. Pick up trash. Go on a walk and pick up litter in the neighborhood. This is a great way to show community kindness.
22. Be kind as you drive. Let a car merge, and smile as they drive by.
23. Open the door for someone. Whether they have their hands full or not, everyone appreciates having the door held open for them. Women, go ahead and let the men do this for you. If they don’t, your kindness today is to silently excuse their bad manners. 🙂
24. Offer a sincere compliment. See someone doing a good job? Tell them. Does someone look particularly nice today? Let them know you noticed.
25. Leave a treat for someone. This can be random or for a loved one. Attach a note, or be completely anonymous. Please note, if you’re doing this anonymously or giving to strangers, it’s best to offer store-bought treats. Since they don’t know you, they won’t have to wonder if the treat is safe to eat. I’m sure you all know this, but I mention it because someone else will if I don’t.
26. Leave unused coupons at the grocery store. Have some extras or ones you won’t use? Just leave them on the grocery store shelf near the product.
27. Be consciously positive today. Make an effort to say only positive things to yourself and others today.
28. Thank a mentor. We all have them–wonderful teachers, leaders, neighbors who have made a difference in our lives. Reach out and say thanks. Take a few moments to tell them how their example has made you a better person.
29. You choose. How will you serve someone today? I’d love to hear all your ideas.
30. Be extra nice to yourself today. Could you use an extra hot shower? A self-pedicure or manicure? A little downtime? Take care of yourself so you can take care of others.
Want to print the list of challenges? Click here.
We work on these challenges together. Click here to see our previous challenge. Join my free 30-day Nonfitness Challenges Facebook group, and learn from other group members. We choose different themes every 30 days. Participate only in the challenges that interest you, at the level you’re most comfortable with. Click here to find us on Facebook.
Be sure to pin this article in case you want to do this challenge again sometime.
What are some great acts of kindness that I missed? I’d love to hear your ideas.