Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Many of us have seen these words on bumper stickers or posters. The idea is that if we are all more kind to each other, there will be less conflict, more community, and a higher level of well-being for everyone. There’s even a Random Acts of Kindness foundation with the mission to “make kindness the norm.” I suspect that many of us have been on both the receiving and giving end of a random act of kindness and that we all have similar reactions. It feels good to give and it feels good to be on the receiving end.
On the Big Think portal, they reported about a study at the University of Sussex about kindness. The research showed that “unsolicited acts of kindness generally boost the well-being of both the givers and receivers.” The study also revealed that random acts of kindness are rarer than one might expect given the impact on the well-being of both givers and receivers. One conclusion relating to the rarity of these acts was that people are afraid that a random act of kindness might be misinterpreted as wanting something in return or the recipient being insulted by the gesture. However, the research showed the opposite. Less than 1% of recipients said that they would feel embarrassed when receiving an unsolicited gift and most noted that they would feel ‘happy,’ ‘grateful,’ or ‘loved.’ Another conclusion was that people greatly underestimate the way that an act of kindness will make the recipient feel.
The bottom line of the research was that we overthink and underestimate the impact of our kindness. Instead, we should just be kind. We see random acts of kindness this week in Florida with total strangers helping each other during Hurricane Ian. It shouldn’t take a disaster for us to help one another more frequently. I believe that kindness can be contagious. It’s a nice thought at the end of a turbulent week.
Take care and stay safe.
The Promise by Damon Galgut
Haunted by an unmet promise, the Swart family loses touch after the death of their matriarch. Adrift, the lives of the three siblings move separately through the uncharted waters of South Africa; Anton, the golden boy who bitterly resents his life’s unfulfilled potential; Astrid, whose beauty is her power; and the youngest, Amor, whose life is shaped by a nebulous feeling of guilt. Reunited by four funerals over three decades, the dwindling family reflects the atmosphere of its country—one of resentment, renewal, and, ultimately, hope.