Unnecessary kindness

“Kindness is the act of caring for the people around you;
of knowing how to make both our lives, and the lives of others, more meaningful.” 

Non-obligation Thank You notes. Words of encouragement. Big, fat, friendly hugs. Admiring someone’s hard work and dedication. Making yourself available to others. Turning the timer off. Telling your boss what they are doing right–and how they inspire you. Thanking someone for working hard, without any clauses or hidden criticisms. Telling a funny story to your barista. Appreciating the regular. Giving attention to someone who needs a friend.

Delighting in ordinary. Pausing for a moment to take it all in. Thanking yourself for the work that you do. Donating time. Telling your bus driver to have a nice day, and meaning it. Meeting a new person and asking them to talk about them. Just listening. Being honest with strangers. Reducing our hurry to become impatient. Paying it forward. Tipping generously.

Letting go. Standing up to a bully. Standing up for someone else. Standing up for yourself. Picking up trash that someone else has dropped. Believing in karma. Volunteering. Spending a day planting trees. Donating money to public parks. Acting generously without anyone seeing or watching. Doing what’s right, even though no one will ever know. 

Have you done anything extra-nice today? Sometimes just stopping to write a thank-you note to someone I appreciate makes my day a little better, too.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~Plato


9 Responses to Unnecessary kindness

  1. Cat says:

    Thanks for posting this! It made me smile. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded that it’s the simple things that are what’s important in life.

  2. Sean Davis says:

    How about I show my appreciation to you by thanking you for being so nice on social networks?

    It’s so easy to make someone’s day with a follow or a “mention.” Thank you for that! I’ll also show my appreciation with a big fat tweet.

    Great article :)

  3. Mark Brewer says:

    Very nice post. Thanks for posting this list of ideas.

    Have a great day.


  4. Denys Yeo says:

    I really enjoyed reading about your thoughts on unsolicited acts of kindness. But I am not sure about the title of “unnecessary” kindness. If we are to be a fully happy person, kindness is always necessary, irrespective of context. I suspect it is the inner satisfaction that we experience from carrying out an act of kindness that makes us feel warm and fuzzy “inside”; and it probably doesn’t matter if this action was solicited or unsolicited – we are kind to someone, we feel good about it; we are happier. But then, isn’t this your message?

  5. Sarah says:

    Denys — Thank you. You know, I struggled with that for a little bit, flip-flopping between “unexpected” and “unnecessary.” I’m still torn. And you make some really good points — I suppose I mean that it’s not obligatory or required, but rather something we do because we want to, because it’s a step above our normal actions…

  6. Fab says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I’ve recently written two posts in your website and they get lost.

    Then I’ve sent the same two posts and another cue via your contact form .

    But I haven’t received any answer from you!!

    Just dropping three words to say: “ok, thank you” or something similar would have been enough!!

    You talk about “Unnecessary kindness” but in my case you haven’t walked the walk at all!!

    Stay well, be good!!

    Fab,greetings from Italy.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Fab,

      I just took a look through the comments to see what’s happening, and it looks like all of the links you sent to other sites flagged it as spam and it got filtered out by my spam moderators. I’m not certain what Todd’s financial advice has to do with this post or the “Launching a startup” post, but I can see how it’s relevant for the book review on Ramit.

      Thanks for stopping by, greetings to Italy!

  7. Fab says:

    Hi Sarah,

    1) as far as :

    “I’m not certain what Todd’s financial advice has to do with this post or the “Launching a startup” post,”

    a) The reason for which I’ve written the previous post is clearly explained in that post. If you don’t understant it, I can’t explain it better in plain English !!
    No problem, never mind!!

    b) Never reported any Todd’s link on your “Launching a startup” post but I reported two Todd’s links on your “the lessons you need most learning the hard way and big dreams, part 1” post.

    It’s pretty different!!!!

    2) As far as:

    “Thanks for stopping by, greetings to Italy!”

    Don’t worry at all!!

    I won’t send you any relevant link for your past, current and future posts!!!!!

    Greetings to the USA!


  8. Fab says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I must tell you:

    excuse me for the last lines ( I won’t send you…) of my previous post!!

    Because you wrote:

    “Thanks for stopping by, greetings to Italy!”

    and I meant a thing totally different:

    “Thanks for giving up sending me links”!!

    English phrasal verbs are so many that if you aren’t a native English speaker and you just read English without speaking it, it becomes difficult to memorize some of them!!

    Apart from that. I’ve noticed that you have reported my posts with those links and this is fair play!!

    You have walked the walk!!