When I hear the word “nice” it’s sweet, even a little benign, and we use it in different ways.
“It’s a nice day.”
“This blanket feels nice.”
“We had a nice time!”
It’s also used as a bit of a slang slam. You just spilled hot coffee down the white shirt you’re wearing to that job interview you have today and your response: “Oh nice!!” In this sad situation it bears a negative connotation.
Nice is not to be underrated. It’s a lovely word and absolutely has its place. But the word “kind” seems more straightforward. It’s less of a descriptor and more of a verb. When someone is kind I picture them being helpful, compassionate, going out of their way to really make a difference for someone, no matter how big or small the gesture.
A few years ago, the acronym RAOK-random acts of kindness-became quite popular. People were paying extra for coffee so they could buy a cup or a sandwich for the person in the drive-thru behind them or they’d pay extra at the toll both, covering the toll for the next car. It was the greatest of trends. You don’t hear quite as much about the RAOK’s lately and it seems to me that folks need kindness now more than ever.
Think back to the last time you were on the receiving end of a random act of kindness. Maybe the random giver of the kindness was known to you and perhaps not. Maybe it was actually an intentional kindness and you never knew. Maybe someone knew you were struggling and they sent an anonymous envelope with some cash you could really use. Or maybe they plowed your driveway one blustery winter morning before you even awoke. Possibly, they moved that shopping cart in the parking lot that was perilously close to scratching your car. We may be on the receiving end of daily kindnesses we’re never really aware of!
What if we were intentional again out being kind? It usually feels just as good to bestow the RAOK as it does to be the recipient. It’s a win-win for all involved. What if I challenged you to seek out ways you can be intentionally kind to others and made a conscious choice to perform at least one completely random act of kindness every day? Would you accept?
Imagine the difference you can make in someone’s day by going out of your way to perform a kindness. Imagine the difference that would make in your own life. I’m a helper by nature. I love to help people. I really almost can’t stop myself from running to assist someone who’s in need.
I challenge you–and myself–to keep our eyes open for wonderful opportunities to be randomly kind, whether it’s to a stranger or a friend. Do this daily for the next week. See how it changes your attitude and your feelings. Maybe it will change your life. Everyone–everyone–needs to be treated kindly and if we all kept that in mind and put that into practice, imagine the possibilities of what would change in our world. Come on back and share with us what happened when you were deliberately kind.
“Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.” ~ Samuel Johnson