Choose to be Kind

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We continue with week two of our #BeKind campaign. This week, we focus on taking the self-compassion we began to put into practice last week and projecting this kindness outward.

Be Kind campaign; Flowers for Dreams and Chicago Public Library foundation
Photo credit: Flowers for Dreams

In recent years, the Random Acts of Kindness Movement has gained fast momentum. It encourages people to be kind to strangers in an unpremeditated manner, accidental even. But can kindness be actually random?

Imagine this: You are walking along Michigan Avenue and you see a homeless person. You buy a snack for her. You chat for a while and then you head to your destination. The recipient was random, yes. The act is anything but. You decided to approach this person. You decided to offer her a snack. You decided to make a connection. Here is a conscious choice to show you care for others.

Just because it’s deliberate does not mean it’s difficult.

There are things in life that are difficult to do: Driving during the morning rush hour, juggling various deadlines, and cleaning snow off of your car in a parking lot. Being kind is not one of them. Actually, kindness does not demand hard work, just intention. Here are some simple acts of kindness that can brighten up someone’s day

1. Hold the door open for the person behind you  

“I appreciate it when people hold the door open for me. It’s one of the simplest and purest acts of kindness one can give.” – Jessica

2. Say “thank you” 

“Thank you means a lot of things. It’s a sign of appreciation. It’s acknowledging my efforts. It’s the fulfillment that in my own way, I helped someone. That makes a whole lot of difference in a hard day’s work.” – Shawn

3. Give up your seat on the train

“I always say that a cramped train reveals people’s characters. The other day, I was carrying about two or three heavy bags and this wonderful woman offered me her seat. I almost cried out of gratitude..” – Anne

4. Share a good book you just read

“A co-worker of mine just lent me a book. She told me she thought I’d like it. How considerate of her to think of me. It’s really the thought that counts.” – Mari

5. Surprise someone with flowers

“Last Labor Day, I surprised my mom with flowers. I told her that she was the hardest worker I knew and that hers was a labor of love. She hugged me and said it was the best gift she ever received. What a difference small gestures make.” – Harry

Did you know that 92% of people who receive flowers feel happier? Make someone happy today. Check out our #BeKind partner, Flowers for Dreams’ unique collection.

As competition and self-interest wrestle for the driver’s wheel, compassion often takes a back seat. Herein lies the power of deliberate kindness. It creates a sense of commitment to help others, no matter how ordinary it seems. It emboldens us to take advantage of opportunities to practice kindness. It reinforces the central tenet of kindness: We do it because helping others feel good, not because we think there will be a material reward in return.

The world is hard enough as it is. Let’s choose to be kind.

How can we practice kindness every day? Chicago Public Library has curated a special reading list to help us be intentionally kind. Simply click the book below. Happy reading!

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A big thanks to Flowers for Dreams for choosing the Chicago Public Library Foundation as their non-profit partner this September. 20% of the month’s profits will fund education programs for Chicagoans of all ages at  Chicago Public Library. Flowers for Dreams has joined the Curious Movement, have you?

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