Monday, 24 April 2017

Stop 'Random Acts of Kindness'...


...And start just being a good human all of the time.

It seems we've slipped into thinking doing nice things for other people needs to be acknowledged and applauded these days. That helping someone who's dropped their shopping or giving a stranger the remaining 2 hours on your paid parking ticket is a 'random act of kindness' when really it should just be second nature...something we all do, all of the time, just because being a nice toward another person is in our human DNA.

However, nope, not how it works these days. We must take a photo, show how much of an amazing person we are to the online world via social media and receive praise for the 'such amazing gesture' and 'incredibly sweet act'. Why can't you do a so-called good deed just for the sake of it? Why do you need to tell people and receive a pat on the back...isn't the act itself rewarding enough?

I see something most days on social media. From little things like giving someone the 20p they were short of for their bus fare or bigger things like helping someone move into a new house and people go crazy congratulating those who have spared a part of their day or given some of their money to help another as if it's a huge feat. It's easy. Being a nice, kind, helpful person is not difficult and does not need to be made into such a huge deal. That only reinforces the belief that it isn't common, special, a one off.

This goes for fundraising too and I bet you have seen the posts I mean. I know so many amazing people who have done countless charity events and raised money without needing to brag about it, but there are for sure those people who want you to know what they have done, even indirectly to seek congratulations. Charity is not about you and your ego but doing something for those less fortunate because you are in the position to be able to.

There are buzzfeed articles and even whole websites dedicated to 'Random Acts of Kindness Ideas'. Ideas?! It perplexes me. I just don't understand it at all.
It's not a random act of kindness handing in the wallet you found on the street or helping a struggling bee with some sugar water, it's just something every single person should be doing by default.

I don't know where I'm going with this apart to say - PLEASE STOP doing 'random acts of kindness'. Stop doing things unless you are doing it purely to help. And if you do help, STOP posting it all online as if you are some Saint or something.
Well done to those of you who have chased someone down the street when they left their cash in the cash machine, helped catch a stray dog, taken food to a poorly friend or went to have a cuppa and chat with an elderly neighbour, without having to tell anyone/post it online.
Being a good person is not about the gratitude, it's about spreading much-needed kindness in the world. All the time. Not randomly.

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After having written this post a few weeks ago I came across the above documentary essentially about why you should sponsor a child in Africa. You may not see the relation straight away, but a quote from comedian Dex Carrington near the beginning seems to do a great job in summing up people and their experience with 'good deeds'.
He says, ''The very bedrock of our economic system is based on selfishness. So what we should do is, we should give people selfish reasons why the should help out down here. Because what do they need down here? They need basic needs. They need food, they need health, they need education. What do people want in the west? They want to feel awesome, look awesome and be perceived as awesome.''

You see where I'm coming from? I hope you understand the point of all this. I'm not the best at getting what is in my brain out onto a blank page.

Make sure you watch that documentary too. It's 40mins of your day but I guarantee it's one of the best of it's kind I've ever seen. [EDIT - the original documentary is apparently no longer available to embed. The above video is a short excerpt. CLICK HERE for the full documentary.]