13 Ideas for PURPOSEFUL Acts of Kindness

The Task

Luxy Hair’s 30 Day Self Care Challenge, Day 8: Random Act of Kindness.

Read more about this journey by checking out my previous acts of self-love.

The Leadup

I faced the same problem here as I did when I was figuring out how to handle the challenge of texting someone to tell them I love them. This one is worse… how the hell can something be “random” if it’s scheduled?

I went around today, spread some kindness. I’m not going to share with you what I did because, again, that would feel odd to me. Instead, I will give you a nice list of simple acts of kindness that you can do while on a budget and/or while struggling with a time crunch!

Let’s get rid of the idea of Random Acts of Kindness. Let us start the revolution of Purposeful Acts of Kindness!

13 Ideas for Purposeful Acts of Kindness

  1. Hold the door open for someone. Yeah, it’s that easy. Once you get in the habit of doing this, it doesn’t feel like an act of kindness anymore. It feels normal to do it and odd when you don’t.

    Be wary, though, when holding doors for people. Don’t hold it for someone who is too far away, or they will feel pressured to walk faster so that you can leave. It is possible for an act of kindness to draw discomfort, so tread lightly.

  2. Let someone go in front of you in line at the store. Are you really in that big of a rush that you can’t let someone ring out a few items at Target before you? I’m not just talking about helping the elderly man or the woman with two screaming toddlers. Anyone. Doesn’t matter. It’s a small thing, makes you have to wait an extra five minutes (or less!), and it will make someone’s day. I promise.
  3. Leave a dollar in the vending machine. You most likely can spare a dollar. The extra fun part about this is that you’ll never know who you’re helping! This is, what I believe to be, a true act of kindness. You will never get a thank you. You will never get to see their face. You are doing something good because you can.
  4. Return your shopping cart to the front of the store. OMG, who would’ve thought? Yes, those designated spaces scattered throughout the parking lot for you to leave your cart are nice. However, every cart you bring to the front of the store is one less cart that an overtired, underpaid worker has to fetch.
  5. Write a general compliment on a sticky note (or two, or three!) and put it on the mirror in public restrooms. BONUS: don’t make it about looks. As a society, we are too focused on beauty. Examples: “You are enough just the way you are.” “Someone out there is thinking of you.” “You are loved.”
  6. The next time you rent from Redbox, leave a $5 inside the case and a note telling the next person who rents that movie that snacks are on you.
  7. Pick up litter on the sidewalk while you’re going about your daily routine. Is there a receipt that someone threw on the ground? Take two seconds, pick it up, and carry it until you find the next trash can. It won’t be too far, I promise. Do this every day and/or every time you see a piece of litter that needs to be taken care of.

    Be careful, though. If it seems to be unsanitary, don’t touch it with your bare hands. Leave used cigarette butts and dirty diapers where they are or come back with gloves. Acts of kindness should not come before your own health and safety.

  8. Compliment a stranger. If you work in customer service like me, you see some really interesting shirts/pants/shoes/hairstyles/tattoos. People use these things as ways to express themselves and show who they are. If you appreciate it, tell them. I know that every time someone compliments the Deathly Hallows tattoo on my arm, I feel really excited. Maybe you’ll find a friend!
  9. Get a meal for a homeless person with a sign. Yeah, we’ve all been told the horror stories, we all know that there are fake fucks out there who pretend to be homeless so they can score money. To avoid this, the next time you see one of these people, don’t give them cash. Take them to McDonald’s or Subway, anywhere that has cheap and hot food, and buy them something to eat! You don’t have to stick around with them while they eat.

    If they really are homeless, you can only imagine how nice it must be to have a hot meal. If they aren’t and they’re faking, maybe this random act of kindness will show them that there are decent people in the world (don’t count on it, but it could happen.)

  10. Emptying trash cans and sweeping up your dirt is a thankless job. Often times, custodians are looked down upon because their job, aka working with trash, is “dirty.” (It’s your dirt!) Well, imagine if your custodian didn’t come to your place of business for a week. Who’s going to take out the trash and clean the floors? You?

    Let them know that you appreciate what they do and acknowledge their work with a thank you card. You don’t have to go to the store to buy one. Fold a piece of printer paper in half and write a quick note. Maybe your coworkers will sign it, too!

  11. Leave a larger tip than usual. The social norm these days is 18-20%. Maybe your server is really great. Or, maybe they seem really frazzled and look like they need a break. Leave ’em 23-25%. It’s not that much extra for you and it’s a really great pick-me-up to know your work is appreciated.

    P.S. Please, always tip in cash. Otherwise, the restaurant takes a chunk and your server is taxed on it. I know in today’s society, everyone just uses their card. Even if you pay for your meal with credit or debit, make sure to carry a few extra bucks in cash.

  12. Donate a book to a hospital waiting room. I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent an unfortunate amount of time waiting around in doctor’s offices and emergency rooms (both being the one in the bed and having to wait for a loved one). It’s boring and stressful. You probably aren’t going to read or reread all of the books on your shelf. Pick one, write an encouraging note, and leave it there for the next person who is there waiting and worrying over someone they care about.
  13. Listen to someone speak. A lot of times in conversation, you only listen to what the other person is saying so that you can formulate a response. I’m guilty! I’ve listened to someone talk about something for a solid minute, the entire time planning in my head what I was going to say next. Listen to hear, not to speak.

    BONUS: go to a nursing home, listen to an elderly person’s stories. A personal story/sidenote. One day when I was in high school, on my way to watch an away baseball game/state championship, I stopped at McDonald’s to pee and get a snack for the road. There was an older gentleman sitting at one of the tables. He didn’t have any food but he had a little stack of pictures. There was a line for the food and for the bathroom, so I struck up a conversation. He told me that his wife (of nearly 60 years!) had recently passed away. The pictures were of them when they were younger, the farm they lived on together, their kids, their grandkids. I stayed there for a long time, “missed” the first three innings, and just listened to a lonely man tell me about his wonderful life. It is a memory that I will cherish forever.

One small act of kindness per day could mean 365 lives changed in a year.

No question of the day, today! Instead, comment down below some other ideas for Purposeful Acts of Kindness!

4 thoughts on “13 Ideas for PURPOSEFUL Acts of Kindness

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