Be kind. Even if no one is looking.

Be kind. Even if no one is looking.

Just because it isn’t seen doesn’t mean it isn’t felt.

I wish I took this picture, but I didn’t.  It came to me much in the way an act of kindness does…passed on, person to person.  My friend, Kristin, forwarded it to me after she saw it in her feed.  I tracked it down online, and it seems to have originated on Twitter from Vala Afshar.  On its own, this image probably wouldn’t evoke the response of retweets and millions of views online, but Afshar astutely paired it with a strong message: “Be kind.  Even if no one is looking.”

I often talk about how acts of kindness provide physical and mental benefits for the receiver and the giver.  I think the general concept is intuitive to people.  Hopefully, we’ve all experienced being on both sides of an act of kindness and know that “jolt” of happiness that accompanies the act.  I think we can get similar benefits as a giver even when no one is looking.

From grand acts such as large anonymous donations, to the little things, like the delivery person bringing in your empty trash cans from the side of the road: acts of kindness that are not recognized or rewarded happen every day.  Yet, they are no less important.  The impact still exists. 

The tired traveler in the picture above had no idea the support a stranger provided, but the giver knows.  And I like to imagine the warmth that person was feeling as they made that unrecognized difference.  As for the receiver, her day could have branched off in a completely different way…a rolling bag, a spilled purse, confusion, lost documents…endless variations.

So, do it for yourself as much as you’re doing it for someone else: look for the need and reach out.  Even when no one is looking.

Do you remember a time when you received an act of kindness and had no idea who did it?

"Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness."

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