What does it mean to be kind? Is it simply about minding your manners and going through the motions? About doing what’s expected of us, and nothing else? Is kindness merely the absence of malice, or is it something more intentional we must work toward — a genuine labor of love?
I’ve come to believe kindness is more than just a series of generous or polite impulses. Genuine kindness requires us to be thoughtful as we go about our daily lives — to see beyond our own struggles, to reach toward those around us, and to take positive action. Kindness means offering what you can whenever you’re able, even if it’s something as simple as a smile, a friendly word, or a shoulder to cry on. In this way, kindness truly is a labor of love — love for a stranger, love for families, love for community, love for our planet.
And kindness is contagious! People who take the time to practice these small labors of love, who work on spreading happiness, and who improve the world for others — even if only for a minute — are influencing those around them more than they might know. Because being the recipient of someone’s goodwill alters our point of view, and taps our inner reserves of hope and gratitude. Once shared, one simple act of kindness will grow and multiply, warming hearts and building connections.
This month, I’d love to hear all about your own labors of love! Visit me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to share how you’re spreading kindness and enter to win a special prize package including some of my books and other goodies.
Your labor of love doesn’t have to be back-breaking physical labor, nor does it necessarily need to feel like “work” at all. Kindness spreads heart to heart from the moment it is shared, and all it takes is one person to go out of their way to make a positive difference in the life of another. To help you get started, I’ve compiled a list of a few simple ways you can spread kindness today.
- Plant a tree — A terrific way to show your love for our planet, and for the birds, insects, and other creatures who will make it their home.
- Donate books you’ve read — Passing along a gently used book to someone else can brighten their day — or even change their life!
- Sincerely compliment someone — A kind word can do wonders for someone else’s self-esteem.
- Mentor someone — We all have our own unique skills that someone else might benefit from, so taking a moment to share your knowledge can be life-changing for another person.
- Clean up after yourself — Whether at home, in a restaurant, or when outdoors — being kind is about leaving what (or who!) you encounter in better shape than when you arrived.
- Say “please” and “thank you” — and mean it. Let those around you know how you appreciate what they’ve done for you.
- Try not to complain about minor inconveniences. Maintaining a positive attitude — even when things sometimes go wrong — is a kindness not only to others but to yourself as well.
- Volunteer to walk dogs at a shelter — Kindness should be spread to all creatures of the world!
There are countless ways to spread kindness and love. My hope is that this has provided a little bit of inspiration for you to be the change you want to see in the world. Share your thoughts in the comments below – what is your Labor of Love?