Pay it Forward with Radical Acts of Kindness

Pay it Forward with Radical Acts of Kindness

It’s not a typo. I did in fact use the word radical instead of random. Radical acts of kindness are a real thing.

Radical Acts Of Kindness Are Random Acts Of Kindness With Intention

What are we without kindness? What happens to us as individuals, to our society, and to our environment without it? It’s basic, it’s human, it’s good for us, and it’s essential for healthy, functioning communities.

What we’re seeing in the news and in the U.S. and global politics is a reminder that kindness is not just something to think about here and there or once a year on World Kindness Day. Kindness must be built into daily living with intention.

When Kindness Is Nurtured And Shared It Creates A Culture Of Kindness

Small acts of kindness matter. So much so that the effects of everyday kindness freely given and received between strangers, friends, and family add up. One act compounded upon another soon generates a wave of kindness, a ripple effect.

Think of it in terms of The Butterfly Effect.

“It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.” – Chaos Theory

Not all scientists are in agreement as to the testable nature of The Butterfly Effect, but the arguments in favor are convincing. And when considered from a sociological perspective it’s captivating if not downright magical.

How The Butterfly Effect Works

The Butterfly Effect suggests that every action including the smallest of actions has an effect on the world around it. Even the minute flapping of a butterfly’s wings can affect the weather halfway around the world!

Have you noticed how contagious a smile can be? Like when you’re walking through a grocery store and the person you pass in the isle is smiling? It’s hard to not smile yourself and feel a small pulse of joy as a result, right?

Or have you found when a stranger shows courtesy to you you’re more likely to show the same courtesy to others? Like when you’re trying to merge into an impossible line of traffic and someone slows down to let you in?

How about when your neighbor gives you cuttings of her strawberry plants or seeds from her favorite flowers? These too are radical acts of kindness. When shared freely they’re more likely to be repeated, creating a butterfly effect.

Pets enjoy time outside as much as people.

Kindness Isn’t Just For People

Radical acts of kindness include gestures such as protecting open spaces for wildlife, picking up litter, adopting a pet, turning off the faucet when not using it, gardening for pollinators, and choosing organic. For instance, when pesticides are used to spray crops they kill indiscriminately, and these same chemicals contaminate drinking water and everything downstream from fish to birds.

Discover understanding and healing through compassion for each other and the environment.

Boost Happiness With Radical Acts Of Kindness

A study performed by the University of Zurich found that small acts of kindness cause the brain of the person giving to light up with a “warm glow.” This warm glow is directly linked to an increased sense of personal happiness. Read A Neural Link Between Generosity and Happiness published in Nature Communications (2017).

Small acts of kindness are a win-win. You can make someone else’s day with a simple gesture and you make your own day (and brain) brighter. ;)

27 Easy Radical Acts of Kindness to Practice Today

  • Be polite when driving.
  • Say hello to neighbors.
  • Grow a garden.

Gardens are a place to play and contemplate. They’re our most immediate touchpoints with nature. Gardens are joy.

  • Send a handwritten letter to someone you love.
  • Compliment others. Don’t just think it, say it.
  • Shop at your farmer’s market & eat local.

    Locally grown food supports your community in an endless number of ways.

  • Text friends and family to say, “Hello! Love you and thinking about you!”
  • Share sticky notes inscribed with positive thoughts and compliments. Here’s one (below) I received at work from someone anonymous. It still makes me smile, it was so unexpected and perfectly timed.

Share sticky notes inscribed with positive thoughts and compliments.

  • Start a lending library.
  • Smile at strangers.
  • Start a community garden. Or a community cider pressing event.

Everyone loves fresh pressed cider! Especially when it’s made on the spot with apples grown and harvested from the community.

  • Leave positive comments on blogs and websites.
  • Grow extra veggie and flower starts to share with friends.

Grow starts in paper pots so they’re easy to giveaway to friends and neighbors.

  • Tell a manager if the person helping you in the department store or elsewhere has been especially helpful. You never know this simple gesture of gratitude can change someone’s life.
  • Write a gratitude list each morning.
  • Let someone with just a few items go in front of you at the grocery store.
  • Start a piggy bank for a meaningful cause or non-profit.
  • Take a walk with your family.

Spend quality time outside with family and away from screens, bills, and to-do lists — think of these outings as small adventures with big rewards.

  • Leave a surprise thank you note for your mail carrier or in your child’s lunch box.
  • Listen to others without interrupting.
  • Hug the people you love.
  • Volunteer at your animal shelter.
  • Plant flowers for pollinators.

Growing a garden for pollinators is good for you too.

  • Take your foot off the gas. Research shows your more willing and able to show kindness to others when you’re not in a hurry.
  • Host a plant giveaway in your community where people can bring a plant and take a plant. Plants make people happy.

    Plants make people happy. Photo by West Cliff Creative.

  • Pop some coins in a parking meter that’s about to expire.
  • Take care of yourself. Take walks, spend time outside, choose healthy foods, laugh more… It’s equally important to show kindness to yourself.

Kindness is a way of living.

Other articles you might enjoy:

Spread the Love: How to Make Seed Bombs

What’s Your Mantra?

How to Make Paper Pots for Planting Seeds

How to Grow Sprouts with DIY Sprouting Jars
DIY Garden in a Mint Tin


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About the Author: Emily Murphy

I’ve learned there’s something wonderfully powerful in the simple act of growing. Here, in our gardens, we can repair ourselves and our plots of earth with our own two hands. GROW WHAT YOU LOVE and GROW NOW!