"Momma always says there's an awful lot you could tell about a person by their shoes." As you may know, that quote is from the movie Forrest Gump, which I've never actually seen 😳. Let's expand that quote to include a person's entire outer appearance. How much can you really tell about a person just by looking at them? I doubt it's a significant amount or that our initial opinions are even true.
When you come across someone who's always well put together and always smiling, do you see someone who has an easy and worry-free life or do you see someone who tries to stay positive despite the hardships they may be facing? When you come across a student who always looks tired, do you see someone who makes poor lifestyle choices or do you see someone who's trying to juggle being a parent, student, AND employee? When you come across a fast food employee, do you see someone who's uneducated and lazy or do you see someone who's taking on a second job to pay their college tuition/bills? Most of the time, we don't know what someone else is going through including those who are closest to us.
For this reason, I chose to write about random acts of kindness to show you how easily you can brighten someone else's day (which will brighten yours in return #winwin). Additionally, I'm an advocate of spreading positivity and making others happy through random acts of kindness. Although the act of kindness is not always random for the person on the giving end, it usually is for the person on the receiving end. Furthermore, I believe that you don't have to spend thousands of dollars or sacrifice everything you have to make a difference in someone else's life. You can do so through small yet thoughtful deeds. Without further ado, here are three creative random acts of kindness you can carry out this week.
1. Give flowers (with a note attached) to strangers
One of the clubs at the college I attend did this in January for Random Acts of Kindness Day. They bought 1,000 roses, attached a note tag to each, and handed it all out to random students and faculty members. It was so simple yet sweet.
You can do something similar (and less expensive) to this by purchasing a few flowers (different ones or the same type), buying/making a few note tags to go with each flower, and writing a short + sweet message on every tag & attaching it to every flower. The messages can say anything from "you look stunning," to "I hope your day is as epic as you are," to one of your favorite quotes. Afterward, pass the flowers out to random strangers. Those strangers can be people at the bus stop, at the grocery store, on the street, etc.
2. Send cards/letters via snail mail
When you checked your mailbox today, what was left in there? Most likely bills, magazines, important letters/documents, or the inevitable junk mail (i.e. advertisements). On the other hand, maybe you finally received a package someone said they were going to send or a product that you ordered online a while ago. Now compare the feeling of receiving one of the items from the first scenario to the feeling of receiving an item from the second scenario. The latter is better right?
Our moods instantly improve when we receive a "gift" in the mailbox rather than just the necessary and unnecessary mail in our mailbox. Why not give that same feeling from the second scenario to someone you know? How? By sending them a random, heartfelt card or letter! If you volunteer at a care facility (e.g. hospital, nursing home, shelter) once or twice a month, you can send one to one of the patients/residents there to check in with them. If you're a college student who lives on campus, you can send one to your relatives to let them know how your college experience is going. Furthermore, you can send a card/letter to congratulate someone on reaching a milestone, to reconnect with a friend, or to thank someone for everything they've done for you.
3. Spend the day with someone who is less fortunate
Although I do think it's wonderful and beneficial to give care packages, food, or money to people who are less fortunate, I think it's even better to take it a step further by spending some time with them. They need real conversations and company in general just like us. So why not spend the day with them!? Even better, invite some of your family/friends to join you! You guys can prepare meals together, pick out games to play, choose which location to go to, etc. You can also volunteer at a shelter that already has events this like, such as SafeHouse Outreach (based in Atlanta, GA).
While spending time with these individuals, it's a great idea to ask them about their backstory (if they don't mind). That way, you can find a common ground among them and expand on it throughout the conversations. Be sure to tell them about yourself too without bragging or intentionally making them feel bad that your lifestyle is better than theirs. It's also a great idea to remind them of their blessings and the simple joys in life so they can remain optimistic.