Time For Some Intentional Kindness?

This column is entirely focused on brief,  casual commentary and observations under the umbrella of “slice of life” perspectives. Why the above image? Well, we chose it to set the stage for light-hearted discussion – not taking it all too seriously. No rhyme or reason or underlying quest here – just our way of sharing thoughts and (hopefully) engaging directly with each of you. Each step of the way, I invite you to “Ponder” along with me. 

Like mindfulness itself, kindness is a natural human quality that requires intentional action to realize it’s potential. Try it next time you are out and about. Offer a kind word or gesture to someone you meet, or to someone who works in town or serves our community. Notice what happens. From a learning perspective, you’ll see that the effects are positively cumulative. The more we practice, the better we get at it. This seems to be especially true in our most difficult moments. All of sudden, something shifts and we’ve chosen kindness instead of our habitual reaction.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

~Leo Buscaglia

It’s easy to feel like you’re disconnected from the world — like nobody actually cares about each other or the things that matter to you. Much of what makes our lives better are the small demonstrations of care that people express through their everyday actions: the held door, help with a flat tire, a quarter for the parking meter, or even just leaving the kitchen as clean as it was found. There is no lower limit to kindness. It’s amazing how little it takes to light up someone’s life. If you’re looking for some ideas, here a great list to get your kindness juices flowing: 100 Random Acts of Kindness.

Please join me in pondering this for a while, particularly as we’re now into the holiday season. Any ideas or actions you’ve taken or witnessed that we can add to our RAK (“Random Acts of Kindness”) list? Please leave your suggestions below this Article directly on our Site for everyone to enjoy.

Dennis J. Pitocco
Dennis J. Pitoccohttps://www.bizcatalyst360.com/
Dennis is the Founder, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of our award-winning life, culture, and biz new media digest, With an emphasis on action, our amazing writers empower people to transcend from knowing what to do to actually doing it. Today and every day, we simply deliver the very best insights, intelligence, and inspiration available anywhere, doing it our way by placing our writers and our audience at the forefront. It's magical. It's evergreen. And quite frankly, It's just good stuff. Period. Here's more About Us. He is also Founder & Chief Encouragement Officer of GoodWorks 360°, our affiliated global nonprofit social impact enterprise, dedicated to providing mission-critical pro bono services to good nonprofits worldwide. Connect with him on Linkedin to learn more about his background. Dennis is a contributing author to the Best-Selling Book Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change.

★ CLICK FOR ENGAGEMENT GUIDELINES & PASSWORD HELP ★

  1. Dennis, this article is a reminder of what Mother Teresa often said: ” a smile goes a long way” to someone you may pass. Kindness comes through the words or the silence of just a smile. I am a firm believer that “Kindness” should be an everyday effort, not just when a certain time of year rolls around. As someone who gives spiritual direction when asked, I always end my time with them to know that “Kindness” goes a long, long way. Thank you for this reminder.

  2. Dennis, I love this so much! RAK can make all the difference. It’s so funny that you would share this today. I’m working on another piece myself about some of the amazing people in my network and how they are more than connections. I received a call yesterday from a “connection” who reached out just because I was on her mind. And I received another call this morning from someone who got my weekly Neuro Nugget and wanted to thank me. Both of these gestures – seemingly so simple – meant the world to me. It’s nice to know that someone out there in the universe is thinking of you. These small acts of kindness and care prompted me to reach out to someone in my orbit and make the same positive little ripple.

  3. Yours is a very thought-provoking message, Dennis. Thank you for reminding us. Made me re-think why I am involved so deeply in the humanitarian arena for over 35 plus years. I don’t think it was because of kindness…. perhaps something much deeper and which cannot be explained in a few paragraphs.

    Oh yes, I acknowledge that Kindness is rooted in understanding, empathy and acceptance and a willingness and wanting to help others.. most often randomly and spontaneously. I also believe that “empathy” spontaneous or willfully, should however start from within ourselves – being kind to ourselves. Kindness is a wonderful, beautiful complex, quality and is something that is deeply personal to us and is based on a genuine compassion for a fellow human being or creature.

    “Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” – Barbara De Angelis

    I admire the wisdom shared by Lao Tzu, “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”

  4. What makes this so great is that it’s actually so simple, Dennis, don’t you think? You don’t have to pay for the coffee for the person behind you in line, you don’t have to give physical or monetary gifts to demonstrate intentional kindness. Smiling at the cashier at the grocery store and showing genuine care is easy, holding the door open for the person coming in or out and smiling with grace, acknowledging people in service, and simply paying attention to the people around you – putting down your phone to make sure they know you’re aware of their presence. Those are all easy things to do, and if being considerate and kind was as much a part of our presence as our ever-present busy-ness, we could improve communities around the world.

  5. Working in correctional facilities for over 30 years, as I did, can have a tendency to ‘harden’ a person, cause them not to practice simple acts of kindness. But you don’t have to work in a prison, or be employed at all, to become an unkind person. Some things I’ve found that are antedotes to a hard heart:
    Forgive freely – especially those closest to you – it breaks chains and sets you free.
    Develop a healthy sense of humor, especially the ability to laugh at yourself; don’t take yourself too seriously.
    Accept the things you cannot change – you may not be able to change the other person or the circumstances, but you
    can control how you react to them.
    Be generous, with your time, money and talent. We are blessed to be a blessing to others.
    Live for a purpose greater than yourself.
    Be willing to take the risk of loving – it’s always worth it. It’s the substance of life.
    The more I am able to practice these things the more naturally kindness flows.

    • Good points, Mike – never considered the “environmental” influences as you’ve described. Forgive freely a wonderful addition to our RAK list, indeed. And as we’ve discovered via our work with nonprofits worldwide (and as you’ve intimated), a willingness to truly “give back” in the form of time, talent and treasure is simply priceless… Thanks for adding real value here!

  6. Kindness is an index of education of the heart and of feelings, of the ability to put oneself in the shoes of others, to help, to simplify life, to lighten its load and fatigue. It is a twin of courtesy: which indicates the mastery and use of good manners (so forgotten!) Combined with consideration for others, that is, empathy. It is the sister of sweetness, a delightful trait that makes life more pleasant. Kindness is a transversal trait: it is not at all incompatible with strength, nor with courage, nor even with determination, both in children and in adults. If anything, it can be valuable to put the velvet glove on a wrist that can be made of hardened steel, if needed. It can be allied to rigor, firmness, determination, making them, in an adult, more authoritative and accepted.
    Of course, in a world where people seem to be in a permanent state of war, talking about kindness may seem obsolete. And instead, just in such difficult and rough times, there is even more need for kindness.
    Kindness chosen as a lifestyle can become an overwhelming trait because it creates an oasis of well-being, for the kind person and for those lucky enough to be close to them.

  7. Great reminder, Dennis. Thanks for sharing this post. Kindness is the key to many doors, that is for sure – and the world could use more of it. Small, incremental steps make a difference. I think about all the kindness I’ve experienced over the years, and it makes my heart smile.
    Sure, I have days where I’m grumpy or not feeling up to par, but it’s those days, especially where I try to be kinder – and I usually end up feeling better. Plus, if someone else can smile than it is worth it.
    I find that we live in a quick society where there’s so much hurry up and wait that we tend to lose sight of what is in front of us. We forget to be present and enjoy the little things. I know I’ve done it more then I care to admit. But fortunately, there are nudges to pull me back and help me get back to basics.

    • Thanks for your always thoughtful insights, Laura. Someone much wiser than I once said; “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. …” Profound words to live by these days…

  8. Another insightful reminder that people need people and that it is in giving that we receive. I’m thinking of Barbara Streisand belting away how ‘people who need people are the luckiest people in the world.’ So true not only because kindness is infectious and prevents an embittered heart, but also because it flows from the natural order of things. This is the root meaning of ‘kind’. Thank you for sharing Dennis.

  9. There is a crying need in today’s society for more kindness and affection. A handshake, hand-holding, kind words, good deeds no matter how simple, showing concern, a sympathetic ear and so on. This list can go on forever but as I stated our world is crying for the above. I will take it one step further to say that the more acts of kindness we show and do may go along way towards a gun being pointed to kill being put down and never thought to be used again. Thank you, Dennis, for encouraging people to take this step.

      • There many more simple acts of kindness I could suggest. There are people on Facebook who post about needing money, clothes, etc. If we can help one of those people that would be great as well. May communities have food drives for which people can donate to. At times there is a need for drivers to deliver the food. These are private individuals or organizations that are all run by volunteers. Nobody is paid one penny to help nor would they accept any money. Giving up your seat on a bus or a train to a senior or somebody who has a carriage and is holding a baby is also tremendous. Each act of kindness leads to another act and then another act. I do not donate to telethons having once volunteered for one and saw where much of the donations went. I will give money directly to somebody who needs it so there is no waste. Some supermarkets have a program whereby you put money on account for somebody to do shopping. Imagine somebody who can’t afford only has to go to the supermarket and shop. Saying thank you to a Police Officer, Firefighter, Soldier, Para-Medic also goes along way. Yes, the list is endless. Some can do more than others but we can all do something.

          • All the acts you listed are of tremendous value. Putting a concentration on the days from Thanksgiving to XMAS is limiting. Everybody can do at least one act of kindness every day throughout the year. My wife and I noticed in one of the Facebook Groups we are in that somebody posted they were in need of food. As neither of us drives there was no way to bring food to them. We called the Kosher Supermarket they shop in and put money on account for them so they can buy what they need or want with no worry as to how they will pay for the food. It was just a regular day. Our religion puts a great deal of emphasis on doing acts of chesed (kindness) but long before we became religious I mirrored my father in that I volunteered my time before and after work for various organizations. The late singer/songwriter Harry Chapin was very active in World Hunger year which I being a big fan of his got into doing work for others. I got similar inspiration from Pete Seeger whom I had the pleasure of meeting. In a sense, you can say I am an ulterior motive which is the truth. I believe the more kindness that can be done and shown we can reduce the incidents of gun-related violence. There are far too many shootings. Innocent people are being killed due to no fault of their own they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and were subsequently shot and killed. The opposite of kindness is hate. When you think of hate you think of the atrocities committed by the Nazis not to mention 09/11.

  10. And besides being kind, and I don’t want to discount the importance of kindness, or generosity, or compassion – but methinks we don’t ponder nearly often enough. To be still, to focus on one thing and roll it around inside our busy, overcooked brains. I like to tell people that sometimes we’re too quick to jump outside the box and start thinking… not that think outside the box is bad, but I like to make sure that we’ve looked all around inside the box, as maybe the solution is right here at hand. Pondering kindness would be a highly profitable exercise. It isn’t that difficult or complicated to be kind, and people might find out that like any kind of exercise, once you flex those muscles a few times, it becomes a very easy thing to do. Thanks for a great reminder, Dennis!

    • Right on target, Tom, as usual. Let’s all just tie a bow around that box (full of kindness in all forms) and deliver it as often as we can, however, wherever and whenever the opportunity strikes. … Something as simple as an unexpected compliment pays such dividends and immediately lifts someone’s spirit…

    • I love this reflection, Tom Dietzler, because kindness most definitely can begin inside our own hearts., souls, minds. Many people can be so cruel to themselves-in thought-the inner critic. What if, that voice actually became silent or listened to with such rapt attention that it guided you to the source of that voice, that mad part of you that wreaked such havoc- What I’ve learned along the way, is that voice is often connected directly to unresolved hurts in the heart from the past-those feelings never had a chance to flush out of us… or that voice isn’t even OURS. Learning to be kind from the inside out-now, there’s a beautiful practice… What would this look like for each of us? I imagine as unique as each of us are!!

  11. Thank you, Dennis, for this wonderful reminder to engage in acts of kindness, to allow this practice to become so natural, organic that it’s like breathing in and breathing out. Generously giving and graciously receiving kindness can become as important as taking in the deep breath of the gift of life and that exhale of our contribution. May kindness become a celebrated way of living our lives.

    • What a wonderful world it would be, Laura if only this practice was “to become so natural, organic that it’s like breathing in and breathing out…” as you say… Amazing the reaction we get for the simplest intentional kind act – likely because expectations are so low that a small act turns into a really big act …

  12. Love the message Dennis. I always tell people kindness is free. It goes hand-in-hand with gratitude and compassion. What exists in the ether of social media is not an accurate reflection of how people behave in public… generally speaking… I think the appeal of running our mouths is greater on social media because people can safely hide behind their keyboards. In public, face to face, you can see when a comment hurts someone, how it affects an individual directly, and therefore we are more prone to bite our tongues. Either way, people need to pull back on the hatred and knee-jerk rhetoric. Being judge, jury and executioner is not our place, only God can make those decisions…

    • Good points, as usual, her, Aaron. Perhaps if we could all rally people to touch folks with kindness, we can chip away at all the natural cynicism and negativity out there, particularly during the holiday season. In other words, let’s kill ’em with kindness…

🔴 DON'T MISS OUR LATEST & GREATEST | CLICK HERE TO HAVE @BC360° TODAY DELIVERED 🔴

READY TO REDISCOVER HUMANITY?

🔀 SALON 360° 🔀 "Where Shift Happens"

It's time for more walkin'/less talkin'. It's time to change how we operate and how we cooperate. It's time for "shift" to happen.

Must Read