While a good excuse to hang out with loved ones, most holidays are pretty stupid. Just an excuse for spending money and creating waste (because we don’t do enough of that already). If your eco-conscience is feeling grossed out by Valentine’s Day, I’ve got great news for you. Someone finally invented an awesome holiday that blows it out of the water.
February 10 kicked off Random Acts of Kindness Week, culminating with Random Acts of Kindness Day on Feb. 16. Rather than creating guilt for not buying the right chocolates or sparking arguments about whether or not that diamond is shiny enough to express true love, the international RAK celebration is meant to give the entire human race a dose of compassion.
The day was started by The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, an internationally recognized non-profit organization founded upon the powerful belief in kindness, and dedicated to providing resources and tools that encourage acts of kindness.
My favorite part of this type of celebration is that we each have a different definition of kindness. Rather than being boxed into what corporations tell us is an acceptable expression of love, we’re free to be “kind” to friends, family and strangers in the best way we know how. It’s not about how much we can spend, which means the sky’s the limit! Just a few seconds of browsing the stories and ideas on the RAK website, and you’ll be grinning from ear to ear.
5 Awesome Things You Should Do For Random Acts of Kindness Day
1. Make Eye Contact and Smile
Walk down any street today and you’ll see people staring at the ground, or worse, their phones. This RAK week, look up and into the eyes of your fellow humans. If someone makes eye contact back–SMILE! Not only will it increase your own happiness, it will likely make someone’s day. Who knows how long it’s been since someone smiled at them for absolutely no reason?
2. Say Thank You
When’s the last time you thanked your boss for pushing you to be better at your job? Or your favorite teacher for taking the time to make lessons interesting? Or your grandmother for never forgetting to send a birthday card (even though you’re 30 and moved about 100 times?) This RAK, take the 2.5 seconds required to say a heartfelt thank you. Maybe follow it up with an explanation of how much these actions mean to you, even though life is crazy and it might seem like you take them for granted.
3. Pay it Backward
Headed through a tollbooth? Standing in a coffee shop line? Pay for the person waiting behind you. This is a truly random act of kindness, as you’re unlikely to hear a thank you or ever see that person again. But you will have completely changed their day for the better. And hopefully, they’ll pay it forward.
4. Give a Compliment
We’re so surrounded by unrealistic expectations of who we should be, how much money we should make, and what we should look like, it’s no surprise that self-esteem levels are at an all-time low. During this RAK week, give someone a heartfelt compliment. Tell them you love their sense of style, how good they are at juggling parenthood and a career, or how much you admire their determination in the face of adversity. You know, all those things we think silently but never say. Today, say them.
5. Give Up Your Place
Whether it’s standing in line, searching for a parking spot, merging in traffic or just holding the elevator door–put someone else ahead of yourself. Maybe give them your seat in a crowded bus or let them check out ahead of you in the grocery line. In today’s hectic world, this type of selflessness is completely unexpected, and you might be surprised how good it feels to exercise patience instead of rushing all the time.
Looking for more ideas? The Random Acts of Kindness website has HUNDREDS of kindness ideas, and a place where you can share your own ideas for spreading the love–this week and every week! No random of kindness is too small–post your kind acts on social media using the#RAKWeek hashtag so the world can find your posts!
All images via Thinkstock