Little Acts of Kindness Go a Long Way
“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light,” is a famous quote by Albus Dumbledore, a well-loved character in the Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling. While the quote is from a work of fiction, it is definitely relatable during times when things aren’t going as smoothly as one expects. Collectively, it’s a quote that’s apt when describing our experiences at the height of the pandemic. While we all found ourselves with conflicted emotions during COVID, we also found solace in stories of random acts of kindness that gave us hope that we can look forward to brighter times ahead.
One story that particularly tugged at our heartstrings and inspired similar acts of kindness throughout Canada is the one involving 13-year-old Allison Young from Cupids, Newfoundland. During the peak of the pandemic, Allison was given a “good deed” assignment in school by one of her teachers, who probably meant something simple like baking cookies for a classmate’s upcoming birthday or walking the neighbour’s dog. The teacher certainly was not expecting a grand gesture, which was what Allison exactly did.
When the assignment was first brought up in class, Allison thought about the senior population in the long-term care home where her mother worked. Allison knew that the seniors were one of those hardest hit by the pandemic, and she wanted to brighten their day in a way she could: by writing to them, all 124 of them.
Allison’s act of kindness is definitely a tough act to follow, but not impossible. Of course, even little gestures of kindness can go a long way. Here’s how to ignite the kindness in you so you can pass it onto other people:
- Practice self-kindness.
As the cliché goes, if you want to see a change in the world, you should start with yourself. We may not realize it, but sometimes we are too hard on ourselves and prone to being overly critical of our own actions. While it’s good to be self-aware, particularly on those things you can do better, you don’t have to beat yourself up when you don’t realize your own expectations. Be kind to yourself, and keep in mind that you do your best even during the tough times.
- Work on your empathy.
These days when we life seems to get busier by the day with all the things we try to accomplish, it’s easy to get stressed out and put our needs first ahead of everyone else’s. However, everyone is likely going through things as well like yourself, so before you pass on judgment, put yourself in their shoes and be more empathetic and understanding.
- Help your community out.
Helping out your community is always a good place to start when you want to promote kindness. You can start small such as volunteering to pack at food bank centres or serving meals at a community meal program. Remember though that it should all be about helping those who are in need of help and making sure that job is done well.
- Be ready to listen.
How many times have you stopped to listen to a person who suddenly approaches you on the street? You’ve probably waved your hand to say “no” or walked away before the person can speak. It’s become far too common that we are so embroiled in our daily tasks that we tend to automatically ignore strangers who approach us before we give them a chance to tell us what they need. Next time someone comes to you, stop for a moment and take time to listen. Maybe all that person needs is someone to acknowledge their presence, and that alone already means the world to them.
Don’t underestimate the power of kindness, and even little acts such as providing a listening ear, can go a long way.