There is something about a random act of kindness that feeds us as much as it feeds the recipient.

Remember the movie, “Pay It Forward?” In it a young boy wonders how it would be if he did something nice for three people and asked those three people to do something nice for three more people? Pretty soon thousands of people were doing nice thing for other people by paying it forward.

In a world with so many problems and so much harshness, it sometimes seems as if the ship will never right itself. But one of the things that brings gladness to me is reaching out to others with an act of kindness.

It’s the little things that count, and the more of us who practice the little things, the bigger love becomes. Here some kindness practices I use in my life:

Compliment Strangers

You can, for example, tell the bank teller how much you like her necklace or how pretty her hair is. Strangers who receive a compliment often look a little surprised and then their face softens in appreciation.

That warms my heart.

Say Thank You to Those Around You

My husband does a lot for me and because we are together all of the time, it’s easy to take what he does for granted. He always lights up when I remember to say, “hey, thanks for putting the dishes in the dishwasher,” or “thanks for stopping by the market.”

He reacts to those acknowledgments with a smile and hug.

Offer to Help

Hold a door open for the person behind you. Ask the older lady at the grocery store if you can carry her package to the car for her. Bring in your neighbor’s trashcan when you bring in your own.

When our next-door neighbor had a new baby, I brought in their trashcans and rolled them to the garage in their driveway. They were so pleased about it that they started bringing in my trash cans, which led to my bringing them homemade apple butter which led to them bringing me fresh eggs from their chickens. We were the best neighbors ever!

Give Something Back to Your Community

There are worthy organizations everywhere that need help, from libraries to animal shelters. Volunteering is a good way to get your kindness mojo on.

These days I mentor a sixteen-year-old girl who wants to be a writer. I work through a statewide writing organization that sets up mentoring programs. I love sharing with her about the writing process, and I am always delighted by what I learn from her.

Be Generous with Your Affections

Send a birthday card. Give a hug. Verbalize your appreciation for those people who share your life.

The women in my writing group write email updates to each other throughout the month. They are supportive, encouraging and kind. We ask about each other’s writing, families, day-to-day life and do so with the intention of goodwill. It makes my heart smile that we are so sweet with each other.

Delight in the Success of Your Friends and Family

When someone gets a promotion, has a baby, paints a good picture, sells a story — celebrate them. Talk about their successes and give them space to talk about how it makes them feel. Let them download their experience to you and listen deeply.

All of the little kindnesses that we offer one another in the course of a day seem like they are gestures for someone else, but the actions also fill our hearts and liberate our souls. In the instant that we compliment, acknowledge, support or encourage someone, we are right in the middle of our true-life purpose — to love one another.

Maya Angelou said, “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” Ms. Angelou’s quote inspired today’s post.

What little act of kindness did you do recently that nurtured your heart and liberated your soul? Please share with me in the comments. And readers… I appreciate you!

Let's Have a Conversation!