‘It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness’
Today, February 17th, is Random Acts of Kindness Day. So this is your reminder to breathe, pause, and step outside yourself today. Be in the service of others.
It doesn’t have to be a huge thing if you’re stressed, or busy, or particularly in pain or grief. You can try, or not. It’s fine if the only person you can be kind to today is yourself. That, too, is important.
It’s fine if the only person you can be kind to today is yourself.
Still, assuming you can muster the energy to give today, here are some ideas about how you can make someone’s day a little lighter, a little brighter.
As you navigate the world today, be mindful of the presence of other people. Smile at them, step aside to make space for them on the busy pavements of Durham. Choose the till over the self-checkout, and speak to the person managing the till. Say good morning, and thank you, and wish them a good day. Compliment people about things you like about them – but do not be creepy!
Use the revolving door of the library to keep the librarians warm. Offer someone your turn in a queue. Bake something for people – the less they expect it, the better (be careful with potential allergies/vegan diet, if you don’t know someone that well). Be attuned to what others say to you – if someone you’ve spoken to in the last few days has mentioned struggling with stress, work or personal issues, send them a message. Ask them how they’re doing. Say, ‘I’m thinking of you!’. Tell them you believe in them. Embrace the cheesiness.
Be attuned to what others say to you.
If you haven’t checked in with your friends about how their mental health stands lately, ask. When they speak about themselves, listen. Try not to talk about yourself instead. If you enjoy something someone made for you, be it a coffee from a café, someone’s music, a student play – tell them you loved it. In person or through a message. Say, ‘good job!’. Say ‘thanks for singing for us’ if you’ve gone to a gig. Clap boldly and loudly. Smile at performers, regardless of how experienced they are. Engage, encourage.
Clap boldly and loudly.
Respond to a stranger’s personal issue on Durfess– be a Josh Kay today. Offer advice, practical help, or just your digital voice in a chat. If you see an earring, a campus card somewhere, don’t just keep walking. Collect it, and try to find its owner. They are looking for it, and it is up to you to make their day a little less frustrating.
‘Be a Josh Kay today’
If you have a lot to give, you can really go out of your way. Leave a note on your library desk, wish someone a great day. Write them a personal message. Say, ‘I, too, am struggling, but I have faith that both of us can achieve things today and in the future. Go you!’. Leave notes in library books or university buildings.
‘Say, “I, too, am struggling, but I have faith that both of us can achieve things today and in the future. Go you!”‘
It matters. It adds up, and it multiplies itself. You matter, too. When the day ends, there will be a little more light, a little speck in the darkness.